Posted: Jan 19, 2014 10:00 AM
 
Making the decision to try a vaginal delivery after cesarean is a personal decision between a woman, her partner and her medical team. Weighing the benefits and risks of a VBAC is just the beginning, and these expert tips will help you prepare for the day of your VBAC delivery.

Facts about VBAC

The ACOG estimates a VBAC success rate between 60-80 percent and notes that a successful VBAC will result in fewer complications than a repeat, elective C-section.

In 2010 The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists issued less restrictive guidelines for women considering a trial of labor after cesarean (TOLAC) with the goal of a VBAC. The ACOG estimates a VBAC success rate between 60-80 percent and notes that a successful VBAC will result in fewer complications than a repeat, elective C-section but a failed TOLAC will result in more complications than the elective C-section.

VBAC advice from a registered nurse

Women will have the best chance for success with a low risk pregnancy and (having) had one prior cesarean delivery with a low transverse incision.

Camilla Bicknell RNC, WHNP is the co-author of The Pregnancy Power Workbook and offers advice for women preparing for a VBAC. She stresses weighing the risks and benefits of VBAC for each particular case, allowing that each pregnancy is different and the chances of a successful TOLAC vary with each circumstance. Ms. Bicknell says women will have the best chance for success with "a low risk pregnancy and (having) had one prior cesarean delivery with a low transverse incision."

VBAC advice from a Lamaze practitioner

Deena H. Blumenfeld is a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, prenatal yoga instructor, owner of Shining Light Prenatal Education in Pittsburgh, Pennsylania and a VBAC mom. She has three tips for a successful VBAC:

  1. Research your care provider (doctor or midwife) carefully. Not all care providers are supportive of VBAC and not all hospitals permit you to VBAC.
  2. Take a childbirth class. Even if you took one with your first pregnancy, do it again. You'll find that you have more specific questions and are likely to want the additional information and practice time for the postures, positions, massage and other comfort and coping techniques.
  3. Hire a doula. When a woman has a doula present at her birth, she is less likely to need medical intervention and more likely to have a vaginal birth. Find a doula in your area at DONA International.

More VBAC resources

Attempting a VBAC can mean rebuilding your confidence in your own body. Knowledge and support are part of a strong foundation for success, so use VBAC resources to build both.

The ACOG website offers information about VBAC as well as general obstetrics information and resources for finding medical professionals in your area. Since all advice stresses the importance of a supportive medical team for maximizing VBAC success, this site will help you find the right provider.

The International Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN) has a wealth of information about C-sections, including VBAC support. The ICAN site is informative and supportive and includes discussion forums. ICAN also has Chapter Meetings if you are interested in face-to-face support.

VBAC Facts is an informative site that offers many facts about VBAC and resources for classes that will help women work towards a successful TOLAC.

Don't miss this mom's VBAC story.

More about planning for birth

Choosing a doula
Learning about water births
Preparing for an unmedicated birth

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