Is a VBAC Birth Safe? What You Should Know About the Risks Involved
For a lot of women, having a VBAC would be a dream come true as this birth method doesn’t just require a shorter hospital stay, but also comes with way less time to recover from the whole birthing process. However, while these benefits abound, women are usually a bit apprehensive about trying and for good reasons too.
VBAC is an acronym for Vaginal Birth After Cesarean and as the name implies, means trying for a vaginal or natural birth after one or more c-sections.
There are some risks associated with this method of birthing and this is usually what keeps a lot of women from opting for it.
Is VBAC Birth Safe and Should You Consider Trying It?
One of the risks associated with a VBAC is that of a ruptured uterus during the delivery process, but a recent study conducted found that the risk of a rupture happening is as low as 0.2%. However, even with this risk being so low, most hospitals are usually very reluctant to try for one and would try to discourage you.
Other risks that could arise include:
- Having excessive bleeding from the ruptured uterus, which could lead to an unplanned and possibly unwanted hysterectomy.
- A life-threatening risk to both mother and child.
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Some Key Facts about VBAC Births You Should Know
- A VBAC comes with some risks, but so does a c-section as research has found that over 10% of women lose their lives during a cesarean.
- From research up to 60-80% of women who attempted a trial of labour after a c-section met with success stories and went on to have a successful vaginal delivery.
- Research has also shown that death from a c-section is slightly higher than from vaginal birth.
- Due to the risks involved, healthcare providers are usually on alert during a VBAC birth to guard against distress to the mother and child.
Factors that Can Make You a Candidate for a Successful VBAC
Certain qualities or factors will increase your chances for a successful VBAC birth and your doctor would usually consider these before scheduling you for one. These factors include:
- Being 35 years or younger as women older than 35 have a slightly higher risk of birthing through a c-section.
- Your chance of success also goes up if your previous cesarean was as a result of the baby’s health and not due to the labor process not progressing as planned.
- Haven had previous vaginal deliveries also increases your chances of success.
- Women who have had a low transverse or low vertical incision are seen as good candidates for a VBAC.
- Your baby’s weight also comes in as a measuring factor as having a baby with a large – more than 10 pounds make you unsuitable for a VBAC birth.
- You are also strongly discouraged from having one if you have had more than one cesarean done as this increases the risk of a rupture occurring.
- Also, having health complications like lung disease or heart issues also makes you unsuitable for a VBAC as an emergency c-section could be dangerous if the situation ever came to that.
- Your chances of success also go up by as much as 86% if you’ve had an interval of at least 18 months between pregnancies.
- Having a baby who is lying abnormally or having a problem with the placental also places you at risk of a uterine rupture.
Other Factors that Could Affect Your Chances of a VBAC
Other factors that could affect your chances of a successful VBAC include:
- Having a pregnancy that has gone past 40 weeks, as you might need to be induced, an act known to reduce the success of a VBAC birth.
- If you’ve been diagnosed with preeclampsia in this pregnancy
- Gaining too much weight in pregnancy, being obese with a body mass index of 40 or above
How to Boost Your Chances of a Successful VBAC
With VBAC having such a success rate, you can also boost your chances through any of these proven ways:
- Let your doctor in very early in your pregnancy about your desire to try for a VBAC birth, that way he can start monitoring your progress quite early.
- Learn all there is to know about a VBAC birth and how to boost your chances of a successful vaginal delivery. There are tons of birthing classes you can enroll for or you could sign up for related groups to learn from professionals all that is needed.
- Search out well-equipped hospitals- hospitals equipped to handle an emergency cesarean- and only use these should one be needed.
- Work with your doctor and a dietitian to manage your weight so you don’t gain more weight than is required.
- An induced or augmented labour affects your chances of a successful VBAC so you should try for a natural labour.
How to Strengthen Your Uterus for VBAC
Working to strengthen your uterus while pregnant has also been known to increase the success rate of VBAC births. Ways you can achieve this include:
Taking Vitamin C with Flavonoids
Make vitamin C with Flavonoids a part of your routine drugs as these are famous for improving the growth, development, and repair of tissues, including scar tissues.
Your body needs about 2,000 mg of vitamin c daily as, while a vitamin c overdose is rare, too much of it has been linked to nausea and diarrhea. You can get vitamin c in citrus fruits, strawberries, broccoli, and papaya among other fruits.
Avoid Stress and Keep Your Body Healthy
Carrying out regular exercises, eating the right diet, getting adequate sleep of 7-8 hours daily, and avoiding unhealthy lifestyle habits like smoking and drinking will make your body healthy, which will, in turn, keep you a healthier uterus.
Opt for Prenatal Yoga
Prenatal yoga offers a few benefits to the pregnant mom, including strengthening your uterus and your pelvic floor muscles. You can choose to sign up for a class in your local neighbourhood or purchase videos or books online to be used at your pace.