Vaginal birth after caesarean

If you have delivered a previous baby by caesarean section, it does not necessarily mean you will need to deliver any further babies in the same way. You may wish to opt for a vaginal birth after caesarean (VBAC). 

Most women who have had a caesarean section can safely have a vaginal delivery for their next baby, however, you will need to be more closely monitored during your labour to ensure that everything is progressing well. 

Around 75% of women who have had a previous caesarean section and go into labour naturally have a successful VBAC and 90% of women who have had a vaginal delivery in addition to a caesarean section will be able to give birth vaginally again. 

Whilst a successful VBAC has the fewest complications, some women will be advised that a caesarean section is the safest option to deliver their baby if they have already delivered this way previously. You will be advised to have a caesarean section if you have already delivered 2 or more babies this way as you are at increased risk of your scar opening up (rupturing) during labour and delivery. 

If you go into labour and you are planning a vaginal birth after caesarean, you are advised to contact the Hospital as soon as your contractions begin or your waters break. Once your contractions are coming regularly your baby will be continuously monitored to ensure that they are not showing any signs of distress as changes to your baby’s wellbeing may be an indication of a problem with your previous caesarean section scar. 

There are some additional risks of having a VBAC. These include: 

  • Needing an emergency caesarean section. This is necessary for approximately 25% of women planning a VBAC. 
  • Your previous scar rupturing. This occurs in approximately 0.5% of women although the risk increases by 2-3 times if your labour is induced. Delivery of your baby would take place by emergency caesarean section in this instance. 
  • The need for a blood transfusion. 
  • The need for an assisted delivery (forceps or ventouse)

Birth after previous caesarean patient information leaflet - This information is for you if you have had one caesarean section and want to know more about your birth options when having another baby.

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