Once a mother has given birth by cesarean, all future births come with a new set of questions and concerns. Moms must decide if they want to try for a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) or have a repeat c-section. Of course for some moms there may not be a choice, depending on her own medical situation. Others may be in an area where doctors and hospitals have “banned” VBACs, meaning the hospital policy is any mother who has given birth by cesarean must have all future babies by cesarean. Some doctors may say they support VBACs or will “allow” a mom to try for one, but as time goes by they begin to impose restrictions that may a VBAC highly unlikely. Moms may be told they must deliver by 40 weeks or schedule a repeat cesarean, if their baby is measuring too big by ultrasound they may be told to schedule, if their blood pressure is rising, etc, etc. Finding a truly supportive caregiver can mean traveling to a hospital further from home, but it may mean the difference between a vaginal birth and a repeat cesarean.
Statistics about risk are thrown around a lot, with some doctors accurately portraying the risks and with others just trying to scare moms. I had one doctor tell me there’s a 1 in 10 chance of uterine rupture if a mom has a VBAC – which is absurd, and the doctor took back this claim when I called her on it. (The actually risk is estimated to be around 0.48% – a far cry from her claim of 10% risk!!) But what are the risks of a VBAC? And more importantly, what are the risks of repeat cesareans? Here is a wonderful visual aid from ICANto explain!
A chart explaining the risks, VBAC vs. Cesarean
And for those moms who think this doesn’t apply to them – I hope it never does become an issue for you! But with the current cesarean rate at 32.8% according to the most recent report from the CDC, you have a painfully high chance that you will need to consider this in the future. One out of every three women birthing today will deliver surgically, and after viewing the above image concerning risks you can see why this is so alarming.