VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) offers several benefits for women who are good candidates. Vaginal delivery avoids the risks that go along with abdominal surgery as well as the prolonged recovery time. Plus, for women who plan to have several children, vaginal delivery can reduce the risks that have been associated with repeated C-sections, including bowel or bladder injury leading to incontinence, infection, abnormal placenta growth and future hysterectomy.
In women who are good candidates, the risks associated with VBAC are very rare. The most common serious risk is rupture of the uterus, which occurs in about 1 percent of VBACs. Uterine rupture can cause significant risks and complications for both the mother and the baby, including significant loss of blood and lack of oxygen to the baby's brain which can result in brain damage. The risk of death for the baby is also elevated when the uterus ruptures.
The short answer is, it depends on why you had a C-section in the prior pregnancy. For instance, if your C-section arose as a result of specific health risks to you or your baby and those risks are still present, you may not be a good candidate for a VBAC. More specifically, women who have had a previous failed VBAC have elevated risks, including higher chances of needing a transfusion, injuring the bladder or bowel, infection and prolonged recovery. Other factors that can affect the success of your VBAC include maternal obesity, advanced gestational age (over 40 weeks) and preeclampsia (high blood pressure during pregnancy). Dr. Bickman will be able to provide you with more detailed information about your specific risks during your office visit.
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