Vaginal birth after a c-section: Is it risky?

It is possible to have a vaginal birth after a C-section delivery in the previous pregnancy. But your doctor will check certain things before considering if you’re an appropriate candidate for it.

A majority of women prefer normal delivery over caesarean delivery (C-section). However, a C-section may be recommended for delivery in some cases, for example, women carrying twins, triplets or more; starting labour too early; when babies are not in a head-down position; or problems with the placenta such as placenta previa (when the placenta covers the opening of the cervix ) or placenta abruption (when the placenta separates from the uterine lining, causing the baby to lose oxygen). Can a woman have a vaginal birth after having a C-section in the previous pregnancy?

“Yes, if you are pregnant again and had delivered your last baby through caesarean delivery (C-section), it is still possible for you to have a vaginal birth,” said Dr Pratima Thamke, Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist, Motherhood Hospital, Kharghar.

“In case you had a caesarean birth (C-section) previously, it does not mean that you will have to deliver the same way again. Many women can have vaginal deliveries after a C-section in the past. This is known as a vaginal birth after a caesarean (VBAC),” she added.

Dr Pratima shared that having a vaginal delivery has a plethora of benefits. Here are a few benefits that she mentioned while talking to TheHealthSite.

Advantages of a vaginal delivery

Shorter recovery period: A woman will have a shorter hospital stay after a vaginal birth when compared to C-section. Avoiding surgery will help you have a faster recovery after the birth of the baby.

Family planning. If you want to have a larger family, a vaginal birth may help you avoid some of the issues that are commonly associated with C-section deliveries.

Lower risk of complications. Vaginal deliveries will lower one’s chances of infection, bleeding, blood clotting, and injury to abdominal organs. One will also not require a blood transfusion.

Who can go for a vaginal delivery after a C-section?

Dr Pratima responded, “A woman having a cut on the uterus from a past C-section should be what is called low transverse. The treating doctor will check the report and confirm if you can go for vaginal birth. Apart from that, a woman with no past history of ruptures of the uterus or scars on the uterus from other surgeries. The doctor will examine if the pelvis is capable of vaginal birth and will monitor you to see if you have a big baby. Remember that the baby should be of a normal size. One should also not have the condition that led to a C-section in the past. Also, there should be no complications or problems when the doctor takes the medical history. The doctor will make sure that you are suitable for vaginal delivery and then only will advise you to go for it.”

Vaginal birth after a c-section: Is it risky?

Following a caesarean section delivery, the structure and function of a woman’s body changes. Hence, it is important to plan the next pregnancy and delivery after a C-section properly and carefully. Vaginal birth after a C-section involves more risks compared to vaginal delivery without prior caesarean section.

If you have had a caesarean section in your last pregnancy, wait for at least 18 to 24 months before planning your next pregnancy. It is best if you can plan your next baby after three years.

Keeping a longer interval between previous C-section and next pregnancy allows the caesarean section scar to heal better.

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