VBAC (Vaginal birth after C-section)

Norton Healthcare delivers more babies in Louisville and Southern Indiana than any other provider. We offer a range of delivery options, including vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC).

If you have had a cesarean delivery (C-section) before, it still might be possible to deliver your next baby vaginally. Your Norton Healthcare provider will work with you to create the specific birth plan you want and the care you need.

If you and your doctor agree to try VBAC, you will have what is called a “trial of labor after cesarean,” or TOLAC. This means you will prepare for a vaginal birth and go into labor with the goal of delivering vaginally.

Research shows that women who attempt VBAC have about a 60 percent to 80 percent success rate of having a vaginal birth.

Benefits of VBAC

There are many reasons to consider VBAC, including:

  • Shorter recovery time. You may have a shorter hospital stay after a vaginal birth than you would for another C-section. Avoiding surgery will help you have a faster recovery after baby arrives.
  • Experience. Some women want to have the experience of a vaginal birth. Your partner, spouse or doula may be able to play a larger role in your delivery experience.
  • Family planning. If you are thinking of having a larger family, VBAC may help you avoid some of the issues that can arise from multiple C-sections.
  • Lower risk of complications. Vaginal deliveries have lower rates of infection, bleeding, blood clotting and injury to abdominal organs.

Is a VBAC safe?

Having a vaginal birth after a cesarean is a safe choice in most cases. You should discuss with your OB/GYN or midwife whether it’s right for you depending on several things, including why you had a C-section, the type of uterine incision used, how many cesareans you’ve had and your overall health.

Some women will be better candidates for VBAC than others. Our team will talk with you about previous pregnancies and your current health to determine whether VBAC is a good choice.

The primary risk of VBAC is rupture of the uterine scar from a prior cesarean delivery. However, a rupture occurs in only about 1 in 500 women who choose to deliver via VBAC.

If you choose VBAC, you’ll follow the same process that’s used for any vaginal delivery once you go into labor. As with any labor, the need for a C-section might arise once labor begins.

We are prepared

If an unexpected emergency arises during labor, Norton Healthcare is prepared to offer the best possible care.

  • Norton Women’s & Children’s Hospital and Norton Children’s Hospital both house neonatal intensive care units (NICU). Our downtown NICU has the highest available rating: Level IV.
  • Our maternal-fetal medicine specialists provide specialized care for complications associated with multiple births, premature labor, maternal hypertension, diabetes and other issues related to baby or mom.
  • We staff 24-hour on-site neonatologists for babies who need advanced medical care.
  • We have the region’s only anesthesiologists dedicated exclusively to obstetrics.
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