Just because you have had one C-Section doesn't mean you cannot deliver vaginally the second time. VBAC or Vaginal Birth after C-Section is getting increasingly common.
If you are pregnant after undergoing a c-section, here's what you need to know.
Can I deliver vaginally after a c-section?
The phrase "Once a caesarean, always a caesarean" doesn't hold true anymore. Whether or not you will have a second c-section can best be ascertained when you are in the final trimester of such second pregnancy. Your doctor will take the decision depending on how your scar is holding up, the weight of the baby and other factors that may surface at the time.
What are the risks?
There is essentially one main risk associated with trying for a VBAC or Vaginal Birth after C-Section - which is uterine rupture. This is a rare complication, with a 1% risk. This risk is even smaller if you have had a "bikini-cut" c-section the first time.
If you do opt to try for a VBAC, make sure the hospital you go to is equipped to handle an emergency, in the event you are the one person out of hundred whose uterus ruptures during delivery. There should be someone around who can perform an emergency c-section, because when the uterus starts rupturing, your baby should be delivered immediately else your baby may die or suffer brain damage.
The only way to tell that your uterus is rupturing is by means of a baby heart monitor. There should be a specialised person with you constantly during your labour, to note any irregularities in your baby's heartbeat. In addition, there should be an anaesthetic on call, and there should be enough blood if you need it.
Do certain factors increase the chances of a uterine rupture?
Certain factors like using forceps, inducing labour slightly increase the chances of a uterine rupture.
What factors should you keep in mind when making the decision?
If your scar has healed well, your baby is not very big, and should be able to pass through the birth canal with relative ease, your doctor may ask if you would like to try for a vaginal delivery. She will explain the risks to you, and the decision will be yours. Here's what you should consider before making the decision.
How important is it to you to have a vaginal delivery?
Some mothers feel cheated after their first delivery ended in a c-section, and may want to go through the birthing process for strong emotional reasons. If you think having a successful vaginal delivery will make a substantial difference to your birthing experience, opt for one.
How many children do you want?
If you are sure you want no more than two or three children, you don't need to try a vaginal delivery. If a larger family has been your dream, consider going in for a VBAC. 60 to 80 percent of women who choose to deliver vaginally after a first c-section, go on to have successful vaginal deliveries. The others may be forced to opt for a second c-section after labour for a number of reasons.
How old are you?
If you are over the age of 40, opt for a second c-section.