Vaginal Birth After Cesarean Section

More than a quarter of all deliveries are performed by C-section, but it’s still possible to have a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC). With more than 30 years of experience as an OB/GYN, Schubert Atiga, MD, FACOG works with women in the San Diego area to ensure they have healthy VBAC deliveries at Lifetime Women’s Healthcare. If you’ve had a cesarean in the past, call Lifetime Women’s Healthcare in Chula Vista, California or schedule an appointment online to learn more.

Vaginal Birth After Cesarean Section Q & A

Why are cesareans performed?

Delivering your baby through an incision in your abdomen and uterus — a cesarean birth or C-section — instead of vaginally might be advisable for various reasons, such as:

  • If you have genital herpes
  • Baby position or size
  • Dystocia (long, difficult labor)
  • Carrying multiple pregnancies
  • Fetal distress or complications

Dr. Atiga might also recommend a C-section for certain high-risk pregnancies.

Unlike vaginal births, cesareans require longer hospital stays, come with increased risk of infection, and can affect your future family planning because of the risks associated with multiple cesarean deliveries.

Can you have a vaginal birth after cesarean?

For 60-80% of women, VBAC is possible. Dr. Atiga and his team work closely with you to evaluate your chances of having a successful vaginal birth. Factors that increase your likelihood of VBAC include:

  • Successful vaginal delivery in the past
  • Labor that begins naturally and on schedule or earlier
  • The pregnancy has been healthy for you and your baby
  • Have only had one C-section using a low transverse uterine incision

A successful vaginal birth might be less likely if you’re experiencing the same conditions that led to your previous cesarean, are past your delivery date, have had multiple C-sections, or have a high-risk uterine scar or uterine rupture.

What are the risks of vaginal birth after cesarean?

VBAC following a cesarean birth can lead to uterine rupture.

A uterine rupture is a tear along the scar of your previous C-section. If a uterine rupture occurs, an emergency C-section is required to prevent serious, life-threatening complications, including heavy bleeding, infection, and fetal brain damage.

In some cases following a uterine rupture, a hysterectomy is required to stop the bleeding. This prevents you from getting pregnant in the future.

How do I plan for vaginal birth after cesarean?

If you plan on a VBAC, Dr. Atiga and his team work closely with you to prepare you for your delivery. This includes recommending childbirth classes, carefully monitoring your pregnancy for complications, and allowing your labor to progress naturally.

Because of your history of cesarean, Dr. Atiga also prepares you for a possible C-section in case complications arise during your pregnancy or delivery.

To learn more about having a vaginal birth after cesarean, call Lifetime Women’s Healthcare or schedule an appointment online today.