Is a VBAC Birth Safe? 6 Things You Should Know About the Risks Involved
Most women who have had a cesarean section are usually apprehensive and a little reluctant to try for a VBAC (pronounced vee-back) and the reasons for this are not far-fetched.
A VBAC simply means Vaginal Birth after Cesarean and involves giving birth vaginally after a caesarian section. Lots of women who have previously had a successful vaginal delivery opt for this choice for a lot of reasons including:
- Having less or none of the risks and complications associated with the surgery that come with a c-section.
- Having a way shorter hospital stay.
- Having less time to recover from childbirth.
- Having fewer complications than what you could get from a repeat elective c-section.
- The appeal of a vaginal delivery
Is VBAC Birth Safe and Should You Consider Trying It?
While lots of women would love to have a VBAC, there is always that small nagging fear of the uterus rupturing, a fear which holds them back. Quite a number of doctors are also reluctant to try it due to this same fear. However, a recent study carried out has found that the chance of having a successful VBAC birth is usually quite high with risks of a rupture as low as 0.2%.
However, while this risk is low there is still some associated with this mode of childbirth (even if it is infinitesimally little) – risks like heavy bleeding in the eventuality of an uterine rupture and a life-threatening risk to both mother and child- and you should keep this in mind if opting for this option.
Some Key Facts about a VBAC Births You Should Know
- A VBAC might come with some risks, but a repeat c-section is not without its risks and also comes with the complications of a uterine rupture.
- A woman might need to be scheduled for an unplanned hysterectomy to control the bleeding if the uterus erupts during a VBAC..
- A c-section also comes with the risk of high mortality rate as well as more than 10% of women lose their lives during a c-section.
- Research has shown that 60-80% of women who attempted a trial of labour after a cesarean section have gone on to have a successful vaginal delivery.
- Your doctor is usually on alert watching out for both maternal and child distress during a VBAC birth.
- A failed VBAC requiring an emergency cesarean is risky and you should talk to your doctor to weigh all risks before considering it.
VBAC Criteria: What Makes You a Successful Candidate for One
As earlier mentioned, lots of healthcare providers are against having a VBAC due to the risks involved. However, certain criteria presents you as a good candidate for one and these are usually checked and ticked by your healthcare provider before you are even considered.
These VBAC criteria include:
- Your age- success rate is deemed higher if you are younger than 35 years of age.
- If your previous c-section was done due to the baby’s health and not because the labor process didn’t progress well.
- If you’ve had a previous vaginal delivery, your chances of a successful vaginal delivery goes up.
- The type of uterine incision used for the previous c-section. Women who have had a low transverse or low vertical incision are considered good candidates for a VBAC.
- If your baby is of an ideal weight – less than 10 pounds. Women with larger babies are usually advised to reconsider choosing a VBAC as their option of birth.
- Women who have had more than one cesarean are strongly discouraged as your chances for a uterine rupture goes up with each c-section you’ve had.
- Women with a lung disease or health complications are also dissuade from a VBAC as an emergency c-section could be dangerous if it ever came to that.
- Research has shown that having an interval of at least 18 months between pregnancies increases your chances of success by as much as 86%.
- If your baby is lying abnormally or you have a placental problem your doctor will discourage you from opting for this method of child delivery.
- If you have no history of a uterine rupture, then your doctor would consider you a good candidate for a VBAC.
Other Factors that Decrease Your Chances of a VBAC
Factors that makes you an unlikely candidate for a VBAC include
- Having gone past 40 weeks
- Putting on too much weight during pregnancy
- Having a history of preeclampsia.
- Haven had a stalled labour.
- Being obese – having a body mass index of 40 or greater than
How Can I Increase My Chances for a Successful VBAC?
Since VBAC has such a huge success rate, you can also increase your chances of success through any of these means:
- Carry your doctor along on your choice to have a one very early on in your pregnancy.
- Find out all there is to know about a VBAC birth by attending childbirth class on it or joining related groups.
- Plan to have your VBAC in a well-equipped hospital that can handle an emergency c-section.
- Manage your weight so you don’t gain too much weight.
- Let labour begin naturally as having it induced or augmented reduces your chances of a VBAC.
How to Strengthen Your Uterus for VBAC
Taking the time to strengthen your uterus beforehand will also boost your chances of success and you can achieve this goal through these ways
- Taking Vitamin C with Favonoids
Taking vitamin c has been known to boost the growth and repair of all body tissues, including scar tissues from a previous c-section. Taking vitamin c prior to a cesarean is recommended to help strengthen your uterine scar tissues by adding collagen to these scars.
You can get vitamin c- lots of it- from citrus fruits, papaya, strawberries, kiwifruit, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, sweet potato and bell pepper.
- Keeping Your Body Healthy
Keeping your body healthy through the right diet (and this includes avoiding or limiting junk foods), getting regular exercises and getting adequate sleep will also tone and keep your uterus healthy.
- Performing Prenatal Yoga
Prenatal yogas have been known to not just strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, but your uterus as well. You can enroll for a prenatal yoga class in your vicinity or download videos online to watch at your pace.