Vaginal birth after cesarean section or VBAC is considered a high-risk obstetrical procedure because of the risks of prior surgery to the uterus.

At OBGYN Associates of Des Moines, the physicians specialize in obstetrical deliveries after having a prior cesarean section.  They know that this can be a very safe alternative to repeat cesarean section for women who desire to deliver vaginally.

Common reasons for choosing a VBAC include:

  • Impact on future pregnancies. If you’re planning to have more children, VBAC might help you avoid the risks of multiple cesarean deliveries, such as placenta previa or placenta accreta.
  • Lower risk of surgical complications. Successful VBAC is associated with lower rates of excessive bleeding, infection and blood clotting in one or more of the deep veins in the body (deep vein thrombosis). VBAC also might decrease the risk of surgical removal of the uterus (hysterectomy) and injury to abdominal organs, such as the bladder or bowel.
  • Shorter recovery time. You’ll have a shorter hospital stay after a VBAC than you would after a repeat C-section. Avoiding surgery will help you resume your normal activities sooner.
  • Opportunity for an individualized birth plan. For some women, it’s important to experience a vaginal delivery.

While a successful VBAC is associated with fewer complications than an elective repeat C-section, a failed trial of labor after cesarean is associated with more complications, including, rarely, a uterine rupture. If a scar on your uterus from a previous cesarean tears open during a trial of labor, an emergency C-section is needed to prevent life-threatening complications for you and your baby. Treatment might involve surgical removal of the uterus (hysterectomy). If your uterus is removed, you won’t be able to get pregnant again.

Whether you are planning your first birth or you have had previous children, knowing the birth options can put your mind at ease.  Please schedule your OB appointment to start the process of discussing these with your physician.