What you need to know about
Vaginal Birth after Cesarean (VBAC).
Given that approximately 1 in 4 babies is delivered by cesarean birth in Canada, vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) is becoming more common. Some women and their partners may opt to have a repeat cesarean birth, but some may aim to have a VBAC.
Did you know that the success rate for VBAC is an astonishing 75%! Those are pretty good odds! As long as the cause of the previous cesarean does not exist in the subsequent pregnancy, you have a 1 in 4 shot. So if your first cesarean was due to a breech baby or a placenta previa, for example, the likelihood that the same condition will happen again is quite low, thus increasing your odds.
There are however unique concerns with having a VBAC. There is a 1% chance that the scar on the uterus from the previous surgery could open or rupture during labour. So someone wishing to have a VBAC would want to avoid excess stimulation of their uterus, such as an oxytocin induction. It is also recommended that you wait a minimum of 18 months, but a preferred 24 months, in between babies. This gives your body lots of time to heal and especially gives the newly forming scar tissue on your uterus time to become resilient to the effects of contractions.
It is HIGHLY recommended that if you are hoping for a VBAC that you deliver your baby in hospital and not at home. Talk to your care provider and discuss all of your options and if a VBAC is right for you
If your ultimate goal is a VBAC here are our top 5 tips to give you your best shot:
1. Wait at least 24 months in between delivering your babies.
2. Avoid induction if possible. Try natural methods of induction with the ok from your care provider.
3. Be prepared! Take a childbirth education class specifically on VBAC! Educate yourself on what options are available in your community. Check out our Private Sessions. This is a topic we frequently cover in depth with couples.
4. Hire a Doula! A Doula can be the hands on physical and emotional support you need to achieve your goal. Having constant hands on support from a trained Doula has been proven to increase your odds of a vaginal delivery.
5. Try not to dwell on the past. Concentrate on what went right last time, not what went wrong. Think about what will be different this time and channel your energy into embracing your birth in whatever from it may come.
Here are some great resources if you are looking for more information on VBAC:
Association of Ontario Midwives:
Ontario Prenatal Education:
If you are looking for more in person information on how to have a successful VBAC contact us and book a Private Session in person or online today!
Maggie Hilton RN, BScN, is co-owner of Balancing from Birth to Baby, a Prenatal and Parenting Education service in Kitchener Waterloo. Maggie is a Registered Nurse with 9 years of experience in Childbirth Nursing and 8 years of experience as a Childbirth Educator. Maggie is also part time instructor at Conestoga College where she teaches maternity nursing courses to nurses looking to further their careers in the maternal-child field. She has a great passion for childbirth education, especially in regards to pain management during labour and infant feeding. She is also the mother of two young children.