Many women who are forced to undergo a C-section rather than a vaginal birth due to complications during delivery may hope that the procedure will not affect their ability to have a 'natural' (vaginal) birth for a subsequent child. But, a new study questions whether a VBAC procedure, or Vaginal Birth After Cesarean, may pose a greater risk of birth injuries and even death for newborns and mothers.
About 2.5 percent of newborns and about 2.5 percent of mothers experienced complications related to a vaginal birth after a prior C-section. For those who instead elected to undergo a Cesarean delivery again, less than 1 percent of both infants and mothers experienced complications from the C-section according to the results of an Australian study.
Researchers admitted that the difference in risk for repeat C-sections versus vaginal births were small, but less than half of those who attempted a vaginal birth after C-section were able to deliver that way. The remaining mothers who'd planned a vaginal birth ended up delivering via delayed C-section. Of those who'd planned a C-section, no children were lost during delivery; for those who'd planned a vaginal delivery, two children were stillborn.
Whether a trial labor period is appropriate for childbirth after a prior C-Section is something to discuss with your OB-GYN prior to starting contractions. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has recommended that a trial labor period may be appropriate for women who've had a prior C-section.
While vaginal delivery is possible, it does carry certain risks, including a ruptured uterus. The important piece, as with in any childbirth, whether vaginally or by C-section, is understanding the risks and making an informed decision as to how to proceed. If a vaginal birth after Cesarean is chosen, it is important that your doctor and other delivery health care professionals recognize and properly respond to signs of fetal distress and do not delay a C-section if conditions indicate that it is more appropriate. A delayed C-section may be medical malpractice and may result in preventable injury to the baby and/or the mother.
Source: Fox News, "Repeat C-section may be safer option for moms, babies," March 14, 2012