“What are my chances to VBAC?”
In my clinical practice, I get asked all about VBAC all the time.
“Do you think I can do a VBAC?” “How common are VBACs?” “Is a VBAC safe for me?”
While I cannot answer those questions for you specifically, in this post I team up with Marya Eddaifi, Labor & Delivery Nurse Extraordinaire, and founder of Empowered Birth & Pregnancy, to teach you all about VBAC. What it is, what factors might be in your favor (or against you), and what factors you have the ability to influence.
If you have time, this 40 minute Vimeo is JAM-PACKED full of useful information. If you don’t have time, the text following is about a 3-5 minute read.
All About VBAC!
Let’s start with definitions, there are two that are important:
- VBAC: Vaginal Birth After Cesarean: When someone successfully has a baby exit their vagina after previously having had a cesarean section.
- TOLAC: Trial of Labor After Cesarean: Probably a better term to use. This is what leads up to the VBAC. So if you’ve had a prior baby via C and you desire to try a vaginal labor, you will TOLAC….and if you are successful, you’ll have had a VBAC.
Clear as mud? Great, let’s continue!!
What are some VBAC statistics?
I’m glad you asked:
- In the US in 2020, about 30% of live births were delivered via Cesarean Section.
- Of all Cesarean Births, 60% of them are first time deliveries.
- In the US in 2020, of those mothers who have one Cesarean Section, about 13% go on to have a VBAC.
Why are VBACs so Uncommon?
This is a complicated question, and beyond the scope of my blog, but I’ll do my best to give a 90,000 foot view of the topic, with some help from Mayo Clinic.
According to an article on their website, while it is extremely rare, uterine rupture (where during a delivery attempt, the uterus ruptures…and post-C section this could possibly occur along the line of the old incision) are life threatening for mother and child, and therefore many physicians and patients are not interested in entertaining the idea of TOLAC or VBAC.
The World Health Organization, however, has a STRONG view on the topic, and and wants to reduce the OVERALL rate of Cesareans to <10-15%. If you click that link it will take you to a downloadable PDF with this outline. Remember that this is not specifically about VBAC, but if we can reduce the number of PRIMARY Cesareans, then we immediately reduce the VBAC rate, as less woman are having the initial major procedure in the first place.
So what are things that affect my VBAC chances?
There is a super-neat VBAC Calculator (here’s a cool one from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development). It is ONE TOOL that can help you see what your current chances of success ‘might’ be.
Some things, you can’t control. Concerning fetal heart sounds, baby mal-positioning…and while # of prior cesareans is a big deal that maybe you can’t change once they happen—WHAT IF there was something you could do to reduce the chances of that first C-section in the first place?
Know the positions of the pelvis to help optimize the baby’s exit, and RELAX your deep core.
I sell an amazing Push Prep Course that goes over all the stages of labor, positions you and your birth team can try to augment the skeletal system for success, and I train you in both Pelvic floor muscle relaxation and perineal stretching to optimize your chances of success for the big day!
Marya has developed an integrated approach of fascial body work to improve the soft tissue capacity of the pelvis. She is active on social media, YouTube and Facebook, and has an upcoming app for medical providers and regular people, to teach them strategies to help labor progress naturally. She is passionate about reducing overall Cesarean rates and helping women world wide.
I really hope this began to teach you all about VBAC!
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