Delivery Details: The Facts on VBACS
Friday, May 17, 2013
As the due date of my third child quickly approaches, I can't help but feel anxious yet hopeful that I will be able to have another successful VBAC. A VBAC is a vaginal delivery after a previous cesarean section. It is also known as a vaginal trial of labor after cesarean (TOLAC). Studies show the success rate of a VBAC is between 60 and 80% and 90% after a mom has had a successful VBAC after c-section.
With all of this in mind, I wanted to do a little digging into the risks and benefits of having a VBAC. Here's what I found out:
Risks of VBAC
Uterine Rupture. The biggest risk of a a VBAC is a uterine rupture, which happens in 1% of women who attempt a VBAC. A uterine rupture is when the scar from the previous c-section opens up during labor. It can result in catastrophic outcomes for mom and baby. For mom, a uterine rupture can result in injury to the bladder or damage to the uterus, requiring a hysterectomy and/or blood transfusions.
A study on VBAC published by the National Institute of Health showed that the risk of uterine rupture is increased if the interval between the time mom had her first c-section to the time that she becomes pregnant again is less than 12 months. The risk of rupture is greatest for a mom that has only had six months between delivery and the next pregnancy.
Complications for baby. Complications from a uterine rupture for the newborn can result in a lack of oxygen to the brain, also known as anoxic brain injury. An estimated 4 out of 1,000 babies delivered by VBAC with a uterine rupture will have an anoxic brain injury, which can cause lifelong disabilities of varying severity.
Additionally, the risk of developing an infection of the uterus, skin incision, or bladder doubles if vaginal delivery is attempted but fails, resulting in a cesarean. There is also a risk of blood loss and the need for a blood transfusion.