Next Time Around

Even though there is ever more awareness of natural childbirth methods, a combination of high-risk pregnancies along with rising malpractice rates have led to a higher number of cesarean births than ever before. In November of 2005, for instance, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported a national all-time high for cesarean births at 29.1% of all U.S. deliveries. That's more than a quarter of all births in the U.S!

But don't assume that just because you became a statistic by having a cesarean birth, you'll have to have your next child the same way. It seems that as many as 90% of all women who have cesarean deliveries are candidates for an attempt at VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean). Of those women who opt for VBAC, most have given birth both vaginally and by cesarean, and choose to try for another vaginal birth.

Overwhelmingly, studies performed on VBAC show that 3-4 out of every 5 women who have had a cesarean can go on to have a baby vaginally. Keep reading and consider whether you might not just be a great candidate for VBAC, then discuss the issue with your doctor.

Uterine Rupture

The main concern in attempting VBAC is in the risk of uterine ruptures that might occur during a vaginal birth. But according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), a previous cesarean resulting in a low, transverse incision leads to uterine rupture during VBAC only in .2%-1.5% of all such procedures which is around 1 in every 5001 women. These are great odds.

The odds increase in women who have their labors induced. But ACOG has said that VBAC is safer than having another cesarean and even a VBAC after more than one cesarean imposes no extra risks.

If you want to consider the idea of VBAC, you should consider whether you meet accepted VBAC criterion:

Transverse Cut

*No more than 2 cesarean deliveries with low, transverse cuts

*No other uterine scars, abnormalities, or earlier ruptures

*Your health care provider is ready to monitor your labor and prepared to perform a cesarean should the need arise

Adequate Staff

*You will be giving birth at a location where there is adequate staff on weekends and evenings in the event that a cesarean becomes necessary

In addition to these criteria, the following make for a good VBAC candidate:

*The reason for the earlier cesarean delivery is not present with this pregnancy

*You have no major medical issues

Normal Size

*The baby is of a normal size

*The baby is in the head-down position

VBAC is not advisable in the following circumstances:

*Twin pregnancies

*The pregnant woman suffers from diabetes

*The pregnant woman suffers from high blood pressure.

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