Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC).. Is it possible?

“If you desire to try a vaginal delivery after having had a cesarean, you should be encouraged by knowing that 90% of women who have undergone cesarean deliveries are candidates for VBAC.”

 -The American Pregnancy Association

csection-or-vbac-360x200Although many have been misinformed, vaginal birth after a cesarean birth is a possible option in many birth plans. It is an option that should be discussed with your provider if it’s possibly your birth of choice. There are risk to having a VBAC and the most discussed risk is uterine rupture, which is when the scar on your uterus from your previous C-section re-opens during labor. According to The American Pregnancy Association, if a birthing parent had a prior low transverse cesarean section, the risk of a uterine rupture is approximately 1 to 500 and 3 to 4 out of 5 women can successfully have a vaginal birth after cesarean section. Below is a comparison chart from The American Pregnancy Association comparing a Repeat Cesarean Section versus Vaginal Birth after Cesarean:


Repeat Cesarean VBAC
Usual risks of a surgical procedure Less than 1% chance of uterine rupture. If uterine rupture occurs you have risks of blood loss, hysterectomy, damage to bladder, infection, & blood clots
Hospital stay of approximately 4 days Hospital stay of approximately 2 days
Development of an infection in the uterus, bladder, or skin incision Risk of infection doubles if vaginal delivery is attempted but results in cesarean
Injury to the bladder, bowel, or adjacent organs Possibility of tearing or episiotomy
Development of blood clots in the legs or pelvis after the operation
On-going pain & discomfort around incision Temporary pain and discomfort around vagina
Small chance that the baby will have respiratory problems The baby’s lungs will clear as baby passes through birth canal
If you plan for many more children, take into account that the more surgeries a woman has had, the greater the risk of surgical complications. A fourth or fifth cesarean has more risk than the first or second.

Last Updated:08/2015

There are also reasons why a birth parent may not qualify for a VBAC and should be discussed with your provider. Those reasons may include:

  • Vertical or T-shaped cesarean section incision
  • History of slow or difficult labor
  • Overweight birthing parent or baby
  • Genital Herpes
  • Fetal Distress

If VBAC is your primary choice for your birth, be sure to research the providers and facilities that knowledgable and equipped to handle your birth in a professional and nurturing way. Do not be discouraged by providers that do not take part in VBAC births and always feel free to contact me at or 201-257-7937 for more information and VBAC resources in your area!



Printable Version: VBAC Handout


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