Can a Woman Have a normal, vaginal birth after a C-Section?
Yes! Most women are excellent candidates for vaginal delivery after Cesareans! (also known as VBAC)
You will experience a lot of negativity and ignorance when people find out you want to deliver vaginally after your Caesarean. There is a lot of myth and stigma, especially from people who were adults in the ’90s, or have family and friends who were medical professionals in the ’90s, or trained by people who practiced in the ’90s (that’s a lot of people). Most of these medical professionals are basically terrified of VBACs. Why the 90’s specifically? We will go more in-depth below.
A disturbing number of obstetricians and hospital midwives will try to scare you away from even trying for a vaginal delivery. They will claim you have a very low chance of success, so you might as well schedule your C-Section at 39 weeks. Or, they might appear to be VBAC friendly by saying “Of course you can have a TOLAC (trial of labor after Cesarean)! If labor begins before 39/40 weeks and you come into the hospital at least 4-6cm dilated and follow the exact timeline we give you for how your labor should go! Yes, you can have a TOLAC!”
FYI: This is not evidence-based, nor is it VBAC friendly. It means they are VBAC tolerant. This means you practically have to come in with that baby falling out of your vagina before they will let you VBAC.
*Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. This means that, at no added cost to you, I may receive compensation for products you purchase through links found on my blog. (Thank you, thank you!) This in no way affects the products I recommend (I only recommend the best)!*
*Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional, so please consult your physician before attempting any of these suggestions. Use your best judgment. What worked for me may not work for you. Each body is different and unique. Do what you feel is best at your own risk. I am not liable for any consequences. I am a blogger. This is a blog meant to provide opinions, suggestions, experiences, and information. Not medical advice. I am human and make mistakes, so information may not be 100% complete or accurate. Thank you, and enjoy!*
Wow. How about if I’ve had 2 or more C-Sections? Do I even have a chance of delivering vaginally?
YES! VBA2C is a perfectly viable option for most women. This is especially true if you had a horizontal incision and common fetal-specific reasons for the Cesareans. These issues include breech presentation, multiparous pregnancies (twins), fetal malpresentation (a common symptom of this is labor stalling, no dilation, or baby not engaging), failed induction, IUGR, placenta previa, preeclampsia, and more.
Gettin’ real Real about vaginal birth:
Some women have amazing experiences with their OBs or hospital midwives. They feel supported, encouraged, and safe. Sadly, this is not the case for most of the world. North & South America (and the Caribbean) are particularly fond of C-Sections.
My Experience with CBAC & VBAC
After my first C-Section, my OB said I probably wouldn’t be able to have a VBAC (vaginal birth after Caesarean) because my hips were too small and my babies were too big.
With my second, we moved to a different state, so I had a new OB. He told me that if I came into the hospital 5cm dilated with steady contractions, I could have a TOLAC (trial of labor after Caesarean). That piqued my interest and renewed my desire for a natural, normal, vaginal birth. I did everything I could to prepare, But, in the end, my OB refused to induce. I went 9 days overdue. My baby slowly descended further and further into distress. So, after I went into labor and it got worse, we did a repeat C-Section (RCS or CBAC, which implies “failed VBAC” or that the mother was attempting a VBAC and ended in another C-Section).
Third time’s the charm:
Before my third pregnancy, I felt a burning desire to deliver vaginally. Deep in my soul, I knew I could deliver vaginally. I set out to learn everything possible about VBA2C. I wanted to be sure that if I had another C-Section, it would be completely justified. Not another arbitrary, routine surgery. I refused to be just a statistic. After 11 OBs and hospital midwives told me I couldn’t try / shouldn’t try / or had a terrible chance of success, I had an incredible VBA2C.
What’s the lesson of my VBA2C journey?
If the dream is in you, it is for you. Sure, some women dream about vaginal deliveries, but due to certain complications or past medical history, they can’t even try. But for most C-Section moms, it is a fantastic, realistic goal to strive for. Some women had traumatic labor experiences and would like the luxury of having a planning a healing, family-centered gentle Caesarean. But others had traumatic labor and C-Section experiences and would like to experience the powerful, life-altering experience of pushing a baby out of their own bodies. They feel an inexplicable drive to defy all the odds, rise above the countless naysayers, and follow their intuition to accomplish their heart’s desires.
I’m a skimmer. Give it to me quick. Can I have a vaginal delivery after a C-Section or not?
If you want a vaginal delivery, you are going to have to work for it. Sometimes the stars align, and a VBAC/VBA2C baby just plops into your lap (out your vagina). Most women, though, have to search high & low for a provider who believes in their VBAC more than they do. A provider who will sit down and work through all their fears and concerns. So yes, you can have a vaginal delivery. But you will probably experience some headwind if you choose to pursue it.
Is vaginal delivery after Caesareans worth it?
Yes. It is so worth it. I was in labor for 5 days, had 3 vaginal tears, and had to transfer from a birthing center to the hospital during labor. It was worth every effort. Every second. Every OB and midwife telling me no, and every interview, meeting, and transfer of care to find a loving, caring, supportive provider who believed in my ability to birth vaginally more than I did. Some women have had traumatic VBACs. To this I say: I’m sorry. Birth is intense and can take unexpected turns. I am glad I had 5 days to prepare my mind and perineum for pushing & tearing (this was my biggest fear, besides the obvious). Don’t expect it to be all rainbows and cupcakes. It’s still birth. You’ll still feel like you ran a marathon. But your recovery will be so much faster & smoother afterward. Having a provider you trust with your life makes all the difference.