You are thoroughly enjoying your happy, healthy toddler, but your memories of his birth are not so happy. When failed labor led to an unexpected caesarean section, you were disappointed that you were not able to follow your birth plan and worried about the complications you might suffer because of the emergency surgery. Now that you are expecting baby number two, you are hoping things will go differently this time. You are hoping to have a vaginal birth after caesarean (VBAC) with this baby. While thousands of women have successful VBACs every year, you are at an increased risk for complications and should be aware of these risks.
Why Consider a VBAC?
Given the risks, why do some women consider having a VBAC? There are several reasons, including the following:
- An emotional investment in a vaginal birth. Some women desperately want a natural birth experience and, if their first delivery was a C-section, they want to at least try for a vaginal birth the next time.
- Quicker recovery. A vaginal birth with no complications means a shorter hospital stay and a faster return to normal activities, something that is particularly appealing to women who already have a child at home.
- Avoids surgery. All surgeries carry risks and the desire to avoid these risks leads many women to attempt a VBAC. If their first C-section was difficult, they might also wish to avoid a repeat of a traumatic experience.
- Considering more children. The more C-sections you have, the more damage you do to your uterus and the risk of bowel injury and placenta problems is increased. If a woman is planning to have several more children, she may want to avoid these risks by having a VBAC.
Risks Associated With VBAC
Despite these very good reasons for wanting to have a VBAC, if you are considering one, it’s important that you understand the risks. Some risks include:
- Failed labor. The most common complication experienced during an attempted VBAC is failed labor. When this happens, women face a C-section after a long and difficult labor, which makes the surgery riskier than a scheduled C-section would be. This happens in roughly 20–40 percent of all VBAC attempts.
- Uterine rupture. The most concerning risk is that of uterine rupture, a very dangerous and possibly fatal complication of a VBAC, which could lead to uncontrolled bleeding, infection, hysterectomy, and brain damage to the baby.
- Bleeding risks. Even in cases where the uterus does not actually rupture, the incision site from the C-section could bleed, causing the mother to experience dangerous blood loss and require transfusions.
Your doctor should discuss all of these risks with you in detail before you make the decision to have a VBAC. If you decide to go ahead with a vaginal birth, the medical team attending you should be extra vigilant to watch out for signs of complications. They should be prepared to perform a C-section at a moment’s notice if it becomes necessary.
The Medical Malpractice and Birth Injury Attorneys at Holton Law Firm Can Help
If you suffer complications due to a VBAC, you may have a case against the doctor, medical team, or hospital. Call our attorneys now to discuss your case in a free consultation.