Is VBAC the Best Choice for You?
The emotional and practical considerations of vaginal birth after C-section
- What are my personal risks of an adverse event or complication?
This may be affected by factors such as whether this is your first VBAC or your third.
- What are the chances I may require an unexpected C-section after attempting a VBAC?
This is often difficult to predict, and you will hear many stories of successful VBAC following C-sections that involve a variety of scenarios.
- How did my body respond to my previous C-section?
For women who experienced only limited pain and disability with a previous C-section, the importance of avoiding another one is limited.
- What was my emotional response to my prior C-section?
Did you experience feelings of sadness or disappointment that seemed to linger (and perhaps are still present)? Or did you experience only a mild degree of emotional upset?
- How badly do I desire a vaginal childbirth?
Such factors as previous vaginal birth, likelihood of future pregnancies, and family/cultural expectations may come into play. Will you suffer from feeling that you are not a “real woman” because you were unable to experience a vaginal birth?
- What is my view of C-sections?
Do you view them as almost always an unnecessary violation of a woman’s body or as a lifesaving operation usually used appropriately, or something in-between?
- Are there certain family factors that are important to me?
Do you feel it may be easier for your older child if you have a scheduled delivery? Do you worry about not being able to care for your child after an abdominal surgery such as a C-section because of inadequate support systems to help you?
Tips for a Successful VBAC
What are some practical steps you can take to give you the best odds of having a successful VBAC if that is what you desire?
Talk to your partner and make sure that he knows how important attempting VBAC is to you so that he can communicate that to your labor and delivery team if you are unable.
If possible, arrange to have a doula present at your birth, preferably one who has attended many VBAC deliveries and feels confident in assisting VBAC deliveries.
Let your birth team know that you are very serious about attempting a VBAC. Make everyone aware of your plan as soon as you arrive at the hospital.
Attempting VBAC, like any other labor and delivery, may end with unexpected results. It is important to understand all of your options, make your decision, do all that you can to maximize the chances of a favorable outcome, and then take a deep breath and focus on the ultimate goal—to deliver a healthy baby from a healthy mother.
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