If you previously gave birth to a child by C-section (cesarean section), you may be able to deliver your next child vaginally. This is called a vaginal birth after a cesarean, or VBAC. Your healthcare provider may encourage you to try a vaginal birth with a next pregnancy, since a VBAC is often considered safe for you and the baby. However, sometimes it is better to deliver your next baby with another cesarean birth.
Your healthcare provider may recommend a trial of labor. This means that when your labor begins or when your bag of water breaks, you will be asked to go to the hospital. Your healthcare provider will carefully watch the progress of your labor. As long as everything is proceeding normally, you should eventually have a vaginal birth. You may need to have another C-section if there are signs of:
Your healthcare provider will consider what happened during your last delivery or deliveries to decide whether you should have a trial of labor. The main concern relates to the scar left in your uterus from the previous C-section. (This is not the same thing as the scar you can see on your belly.) Your provider may allow you to have a trial of labor if:
Possible benefits of having a VBAC instead of a C-section are:
Most of the complications associated with trying to have a VBAC are related to problems with the scar on the uterus:
If you have had a C-section, talk to your healthcare provider about the possibility of a vaginal delivery for your next baby. Be sure to discuss the risks and whether you are a good candidate for a VBAC. Find out whether the hospital where you plan to deliver is prepared for an emergency C-section and emergency infant care if necessary.