Vaginal Birth After Cesarean – Advantages & Disadvantages

Vaginal birth after cesarean or VBAC is the option available for those mothers who thought that cesarean is the only option after a previous cesarean birth. Earlier it was generally unheard of a mother to opt for a vaginal birth after a cesarean because of the risk of uterine rupture and scar rupture. But today’s woman can go for a VBAC and have a safe delivery.

The chances of opting for a VBAC will depend on the reasons of the last cesarean. VBAC cannot be an option if –
• The last cesarean was because of a problem like small pelvis, then VBAC cannot be considered as this is an ongoing problem.
• Already have more than one cesarean delivery in the past.

VBAC can be an option if –
• Last cesarean was because of some specific problem like a breech baby or low lying placenta.
• Had a vaginal delivery in the past.
• It will also depend on the progress of the current pregnancy

Disadvantages of VBAC– The biggest problems with opting for VBAC can be of uterine rupture and scar rupture. Uterine rupture is basically the rupturing of scar on the uterus from previous cesarean during labor.
Though it is possible that this scar can rupture during the course of pregnancy or during a cesarean also, its chances of rupturing during labor is much higher. The scar can open up a bit during pregnancy, but it usually doesn’t cause any problems for the mother or the baby. A full blown uterine rupture can be dangerous for both mother and the baby but it is very rare. The risk of uterine rupture increases if the mother has a vertical scar or if she has been given prostaglandin to induce labor.

Advantages of VBAC – The main advantages of going for a VBAC are the same as going for a normal vaginal delivery. The mother would not be undergoing any surgery or kept under observation as happens in cesarean. The baby will have less breathing problems if born vaginally. The recovery period post delivery will be short and the wounds will heal faster. The chances of having a placenta praevia or low lying placenta will be less in this case. Above all there will be a sense of achievement after a normal delivery.

Though VBAC is a great option, the decision has to be taken very carefully and keeping in mind the current pregnancy situation. The doctor should be prepared to handle any problems arising during the entire pregnancy and delivery period.