From the Best Birth Clinic at BC Women’s Hospital:
Having a cesarean birth leaves a scar on the wall of the uterus. This area is weaker than the rest of the uterus. Because of this, it was once assumed that a woman should always have a cesarean birth with any future births.
However, a large amount of research clearly shows that vaginal birth is a good option for many women who have previously had a cesarean birth. In most cases, a Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (called a VBAC) remains a safe option for both mother and baby. Studies show that 70% to 80% of women who attempt VBAC will be successful at vaginal birth.
VBAC can still be an option after more than one cesarean birth, although the risks are slightly higher. A woman’s medical history or other circumstances may make VBAC a poor choice. In this case, her care provider will recommend a repeat cesarean birth.
If you have had a previous cesarean birth, talk to your care provider about whether you would be a good candidate for VBAC.
You can also download and use our decision aid booklet to get more information and help you decide which choice you prefer. The booklet is available here.
Benefits of VBAC
The benefits of vaginal birth are particularly important for women who already have children at home. With VBAC, you can expect to spend less time in hospital and recover faster than you did with your cesarean birth.
Compared to a cesarean birth, VBAC offers:
Risks of VBAC
Compared to a planned cesarean birth, the risks of VBAC are: