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Planning a Successful VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean)

Many women who have had a previous cesarean birth question whether or not they should have a repeat c-section or try for a vaginal birth. Most women who have had cesareans can have vaginal births with their following pregnancies.

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists "Of women who try VBAC, about 60 percent to 80 percent succeed and are able to deliver vaginally." Many times the reasons for having a cesarean do not repeat themselves with future pregnancies. Some of the common reasons for having a c-section are failure to progress, fetal distress, baby being breech, or cephalo-pelvic disproportion. There are times when having a VBAC would not be a safe choice. If the reason for having the first cesarean still exists, you should probably have another cesarean. Consult your doctor or midwife for an explanation of your options.

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Increasing your chances of having a successful VBAC

Eat healthy and make sure your general health is good before getting pregnant.

Educate yourself on the reasons for your previous c-section. Investigate this yourself and find out the facts.

Educate your friends, family and partner on the reasons and benefits of having a VBAC. Support from friends and family can help strengthen your decision to have a vaginal birth.

Read success stories. Hearing positive stories of successful vaginal births can help give you the encouragement you need to try a VBAC.

Research your caregivers. Ask questions. Find out their rate of cesarean births and find out how they feel about VBACs.

Find other moms who have had VBACs, ask them questions, and seek support.

Take a childbirth class. Learn everything you can on pain management and coping skills for childbirth.

Hire a doula. Your chances of having a vaginal birth our considerably higher with the support of a doula.

Prepare a birth plan. Having a birth plan will help to communicate to caregivers what your choices are in advance. It is sometimes difficult to express yourself in the midst of childbirth. Having everything written out will help you and your caregivers to provide the best course for attempting a VBAC.

Even with proper planning it may be necessary to have another cesarean. Be mentally prepared for that option. You are not a failure if you have a cesarean. All births are a blessing.


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