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Q&A: What's a VBAC?

With my first child, I had to have a cesarean. Now that I’m pregnant again, I’m hearing the term VBAC from my doctors. What exactly does that mean?

Re: With my first child, I had to have a cesarean. Now that I’m pregnant again, I’m hearing the term VBAC from my doctors. What exactly does that mean?

The Bump Expert

VBAC is just a quicker (and less graphic) way to say "vaginal birth after cesarean.” It means that just because you had your first child through cesarean, you don't absolutely have to for your second. Not long ago, one c-section meant you were destined to have c-sections forever more. Today, though, 60 to 80 percent of women who've had c-sections can later give birth the “regular” way.

Why would you want a VBAC? There are plenty of motivations. Some people want to try a vaginal delivery for emotional reasons. Others may have trouble affording another c-section (they’re typically about $3,000 more than a vaginal birth), or they want to avoid the longer recovery time associated with surgery.

Why wouldn’t you want a VBAC? There is a risk (albeit a small one) that you could rupture your uterus. But as long as your doctor used a low transverse incision (which forms stronger scars and reduces risk of rupture) in the first c-section, you probably can attempt a VBAC. (Check with your doc to find out what kind incision you had -- it’s impossible to tell just by looking.) Also, if you're past your due date, have complications such as diabetes, or are over age 40, a VBAC might not be the best option.

Paula Kashtan

re: Q: VBAC Basics?

I'm pregnant with my second child. My first was delivered via C-section. I will be attempting a VBAC with this one. Will any of the hospital procedures be different for me as opposed to a woman experiencing a normal vaginal delivery?

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Q&A: What's a VBAC?

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Q&A: What's a VBAC?

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