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Vaginal Birth After C-Section Risks
Dr. Lisa Lawless, CEO of Holistic Wisdom
Clinical Psychotherapist: Relationship & Sexual Health Expert
Vaginal Birth Risks
Women who attempt to deliver their babies vaginally after a Caesarean section (C-section) face some health threats to themselves and their babies, although those risks are small. The risk is if the previous C-section incision opens up (uterine rupture). Luckily, for the most common type of C-section, this risk is 0.5 and 1 percent. But if it occurs, both the mother and baby can have internal bleeding.
However, the more C-sections a woman has, the bigger the risk of this happening because there is a risk that the placenta will attach to the C-section scar and go into the uterus (placenta accreta). Women undertaking a trial of labor need to consider several factors, including the risk of a serious event for their newborn. Although most uterine ruptures can be repaired, some require a hysterectomy. More importantly, however, uterine rupture can cause death or brain damage in the fetus.
The reasons why a woman needed a C-section for her first pregnancy will be the most significant factor in determining the risks of having a vaginal birth. If a woman had complications where she stopped dilating or was unable to deliver despite pushing, she would be less likely to have a successful vaginal birth after cesarean section (VBAC). Whereas, if she had a successful vaginal birth before her C-section or it was a complication such as a baby in the breech position, or poor placement of the umbilical cord, etc., then the chances of a successful vaginal birth would be better.
The benefit is a vaginal birth is that it offers a shorter recovery time, less hospitalization, and the satisfaction of vaginal delivery. However, many women do not wish to risk a uterine rupture, and it is entirely reasonable to have another C-section for another child. Women who have had a previous C-section should discuss their delivery goals and medical history with their OB-GYN to determine the best and safest course of action.