VBAC or Repeat C-Section: What You Need to Know
Why is the decision between VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) and repeat c-section important?
Why do I hear conflicting information about VBAC vs repeat c-section?
How can this website help me learn about, decide on and plan for a VBAC or a repeat c-section?
Unfortunately, a growing number of hospitals and doctors do not allow you to weigh the facts, consider your preferences and choose for yourself whether to plan a VBAC or repeat cesarean. They may refuse because they fear lawsuits, because they face restrictions from insurance companies, because they prefer the convenience of scheduled deliveries, or other reasons, but the effect is the same: if you wish to use their services, you must accept surgical delivery. Your best approach is to become informed and clarify your goals well in advance and then seek care that is in line with your preferences and birth plan.
In the 1980s and '90s, however, many health professionals, advocates, pregnant women, policy makers and researchers encouraged VBAC. These changes happened because:
Then the pendulum swung back from vaginal birth after cesarean, with new calls for routine repeat c-sections. This reversal has left many women with cesarean scars struggling to make sense of conflicting, incomplete, and sometimes misleading information about the safety of VBAC vs. repeat c-section and about what birth plan to make this time around.
The pendulum may now be swinging back to encouraging VBAC, as research continues to help clarify the benefits and risks of both VBAC and repeat cesareans, and women become vocal advocates for greater choice.
Most recent page update: 11/16/2012
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Listening to MothersSM III is the third national survey exploring women’s experiences in pregnancy and childbirth. Commissioned by Childbirth Connection, conducted by Harris Interactive, and funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the survey polled 2,400 women who gave birth in U.S. hospitals from 2011 to 2012. Results show that medically intensive experiences are typical, and evidence-based practices are underutilized. Childbearing women need better support and knowledge to navigate their maternity care.
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