Research Your Decision
Depending on the situation, you may be faced with the decision of whether or not to attempt a VBAC. Typically, this is a decision in which you'll be allowed a large amount of latitude in deciding to proceed with a repeat C-section or try for a vaginal birth. This is a tough call to make. Fear and uncertainty about repeat C-sections may weight heavily in your decision making.
The Current Battle over VBACs
To make things even more confusing, many healthcare providers are stringent about which patients they allow to attempt VBAC, and some hospitals refuse to allow VBACs altogether.
The February 2007 issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology publishes a study in which women who had only one previous C-section were more likely to have problems with their second birth. Additionally, women who delivered their first child via C-section had increased risks for a host of problems, including placenta previa, antepartum hemorrhage, prolonged labor, emergency C-section, uterine rupture, preterm birth, low birth weight, and more.
According to the CDC, the VBAC rate declined 63 percent between 1996 and 2003. Only 11 percent of low-risk women, who had previously had a C-section delivery, went on to have a VBAC.
Despite these grim findings, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) is fighting the rise in repeat C-sections. It recommends that, "the concept of routine repeat cesarean be replaced by a specific indication for surgery, and that most women be counseled and encouraged to labor and have a vaginal birth after a Cesarean (VBAC)."
Indeed, there are many successes to be celebrated with women seeking to have VBACs. And around the country, VBAC women are meeting regularly to exchange their own stories and support a pregnant woman's desire to have a VBAC. These conflicting points of view may make it more difficult for the pregnant woman to make the best decision about attempting VBAC.
Questions for You and Your Healthcare Provider
If you're considering whether or not to attempt a VBAC, you must consider much more than research studies. In conjunction with your healthcare provider and partner, you'll need to consider the following questions: