Health Team

Natural birth can be option for previous C-section moms

Posted July 23, 2010

If a woman has had one Cesarean section delivery, doctors are more likely to recommend the same birthing method for their next baby. But more medical evidence is showing that a woman can give birth naturally to her next child if she wants.

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 60 to 80 percent of appropriate candidates who had a previous C-section can have a natural delivery. The procedure is called a VBAC, or vaginal birth after Cesarean.

“With the right person and a woman that wants to, VBACs should be offered, and it's considered to be pretty safe,” said Dr. Jacques Mortiz, director of gynecology at Roosevelt Hospital.

Patient fears coupled with insurance company restrictions on doctors have kept the vaginal birth rate low, and medical experts said that is part of the reason the C-section delivery rate in the country has skyrocketed. It's gone from 5 percent in 1970 to more than 31 percent in 2007.

Natural birth still an option after C-section Natural birth still an option after C-section

Some doctors have had legitimate concerns about vaginal births because there can be complications.

“The major risk of a VBAC is the uterus rupturing. Now, that's really scary, and it's scary for the patient, and it's scary for the doctor, trust me. That happens in about 1 percent of the time,” Mortiz said.

Women who have had big babies or are diabetic might require another C-section, Mortiz said. They also might need one if they go past their due dates because it can be too risky to induce labor.

Doctors said even women who have had two C-sections can be good candidates for natural delivery.


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  • nceducator79 Jul 26, 2010

    If the uterus ruptures, the baby can die. The mother also can die or may require a hysderectomy. That, coupled with a 20-40% chance that the woman won't have a successful VBAC is enough to make me choose another c-section. I'm only 31 years old, but my first baby was large and I'm just not willing to risk losing this child or having to labor for 20 hours, only to have a 20-40% chance I'll have to have another c-section. Having a c-section after laboring like that leads to more complications from the c-section.

  • Scarecrow Cow Jul 26, 2010

    I bet the risks of having a C-section are greater than the 1% chance of a ruptured uterus during a VBAC. After a c-section there is a greater risk of infection, risk of harming the baby, risk of infertility afterwards, risk of harming surounding organs, the list goes on. Plus, you could also end up like my grandma and have cancer grow from the scar tissue from the incision. I'm glad doctors are moving away from "once a c-section, always a c-section."

  • Vietnam Vet Jul 26, 2010 have a 1% chance of uterus rupture if you opt for a VBAC. There are risks during all stages of pregnancy and the odds are higher for complications and/or death during a C section. I'm not sure if OB's give the latter information but should. Mine did not, but I'm glad I got to experience the joys and pains of both experiences.

  • JMHO Jul 26, 2010

    This is not new...I gave birth naturally in '86 after a
    c-section in '83 with no complications. Of course, I was in my 20's. Today's mom's tend to be a little older. It's the insurance companies that are all in a tizzy over this.