Vaginal Births After Having Previous C-Sections

Dr. Barra O'Briain, MD, discusses C-section options.

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Dr. Barra O'Briain, MD, discusses C-section options.
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Video transcript

Featuring Dr. Barra O'Briain, MD

Duration: 1 minute, 49 seconds

More and more now it's quite common for women to want to have a vaginal birth after a cesarean section, or what we call a VBAC.

In fact, the literature shows that if women choose to have a vaginal birth or attempt a vaginal birth that 75 percent of the time they're successful in having a vaginal delivery. There are certain reasons why women should not attempt a vaginal birth after cesarean section.

If they've had what they call a vertical uterine scar, where normally cesarean sections are done with a horizontal scar sort of below the bikini line, and that's on the uterus.

If the scar's done vertically for some reason, for medical reasons, then that would prevent this women from attempting a vaginal birth after the cesarean section. If the placenta is overlying the cervix we call it placenta previa or if it's to the point where it's low lying to the margins of the cervix, then it would be inadvisable to do a vaginal birth at that time.

If it's too close to the previous cesarean section some institutions would like to have an 18-month period prior to the previous cesarean section, some 24 months, but you have to talk with your care provier around timing issues because it does vary from site to site.

Other reasons why vaginal birth after cesarean wouldn't be a good idea is if there were fibroids or abnormalities in the structure of the uterus that would make a vaginal birth hazardous. And lastly if the maternal wishes, some mothers choose that they would like to have a repeat cesarean section, that's certainly well within their choice.

Presenter: Dr. Barra O'Briain, Family Doctor, Vancouver, BC

Local Practitioners: Family Doctor

This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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