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What is vaginal birth after cesarean?

Under certain circumstances, a woman who has previously delivered a baby via cesarean section can give birth to her second child, and any subsequent children, by vaginal delivery. If you are expecting a new baby in Washington and the idea of vaginal birth after cesarean appeals to you, ask your doctor if you are a good candidate. VBAC is not for everyone, and there are risks as well as potential benefits involved. 

In the past, doctors and hospitals refused to attempt a vaginal delivery with a mother who had already had one child via cesarean. Since medical knowledge and surgical techniques have advanced since that time, many doctors, clinics and hospitals, though not all of them, now attempt VBAC with women whom they deem to be good candidates. Today, according to WebMD, most VBAC attempts are successful. However, an unsuccessful VBAC attempt is a medical emergency requiring urgent C-section. Some hospitals lack the capability to handle that type of situation, so they do not allow VBAC attempts at all. Therefore, if you are considering VBAC, be sure to find out whether the facility will permit it.

VBAC offers a number of potential benefits. If your VBAC attempt is successful, it likely means that you will have fewer problems with any future childbirth attempts. Scar tissue from multiple C-sections can build up and complicate future pregnancies. After a successful VBAC, your recovery time will be faster, you are likely to lose less blood and you will be at a lower risk of developing an infection. 

In some cases, however, VBAC may pose too great a risk to both you and your unborn baby. Contraindications include pre-eclampsia, advanced maternal age (older than 35), maternal obesity, an unusually large baby, history of vaginal rupture and a vertical incision from a previous cesarean.

The information in this article is not intended as legal advice but provided for educational purposes only. 

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