What Are the Odds of My Having a VBAC?

21 Feb

Although three out of four mothers overall who labor after a prior cesarean are likely to have a VBAC, planning ahead, having a supportive caregiver and patient and encouraging nursing care can make all the difference.

Here are some suggestions that may be helpful to you if you are planning a hospital birth: 1_Page_01

Before Labor Begins

  • Think about your VBAC as any other normal labor and remember that the majority of women who plan a VBAC give birth naturally.
  • If you have never labored before or labored and had your cesarean before active labor, the pattern of your labor will most likely be like laboring for the first time. So you will need more time to complete labor.
  • Make sure that you have discussed all of your concerns with your partner, caregiver, and your doula.
  • Find out if your hospital has an “early labor” lounge where you can be observed but not formally admitted to the labor and delivery unit. This will avoid your chances of having routine procedures and limiting your ability to walk and move around in the early part of labor.
  • Avoid an induction of labor unless it’s medically necessary.

During Labor

  • Keep yourself as relaxed as possible, particularly during contractions.
  • Drink clear liquids and easy-to-digest carbohydrates in the early part of labor.
  • Move about (walk, sit, kneel forward and rest your arms on a birth ball or the back of your bed, lay on your side) according to your level of comfort and using gravity to help your labor progress.
  • Try using non-drug options for pain relief such as massage, visualization, deep breathing, prayer, hypnotherapy, sitting in warm water, using the shower, hot socks, or a birth ball before taking drugs.
  • Try to delay an epidural until your cervix has dilated to 5 or 6 cm.
  • Remind yourself to handle contractions one-at-a-time and rest in between rather than worrying about how long it will take for your baby to be born.   1_Page_01
  • Try to think of pain as a normal sign that your labor is progressing.
  • Ask your caregivers to avoid interventions (such as breaking your bag of waters) unless it’s medically necessary.
  • Remember to move and change positions even if you have continuous fetal monitoring.

During the Pushing Stage

  • Many women do not feel the urge to push immediately after complete dilation. Sometimes there is a resting phase before feeling the urge to push. Delay pushing until you feel ready.
  • If you have an epidural you may want to let the epidural wear off so you can feel the urge to push. You will need additional time for pushing until your baby is born.
  • Use positions that make use of gravity to help your baby move down.
  • It is usually safe to continue your pushing efforts as long as you and the baby are stable.

If You Feel Overwhelmed

  • Remind yourself that the process of birth is ancient and that millions of women before you have made this journey safely


To find out more about increasing your odds for a VBAC, download Module 4 of Deciding If VBAC Is Right For You: A Parent’s Guide and the accompanying Parent’s Handouts from the VBAC Education Project.


5 Responses to “What Are the Odds of My Having a VBAC?”

  1. Janette Barclay May 3, 2016 at 7:53 pm #

    I am 8 weeks pregnant with my 3rd child. After 2 traumatic C’s that both went horrible, I cannot imagine another. I stay awake in stress and anxiety all night. I sometimes think I cannot keep this cold as I cannot go through that pain again. Both times I felt everything, the first time they held me down and did it while I was feeling it because they couldn’t stop, the second time they gave me ketamine to subdue me from getting off the table mid surgery. I wanted a3rd kid but was too afraid. This was unplanned. I am now in fear every day. I feel robbed of the right to have my baby naturally. I was told my labor wasn’t progressing I had to have the cesarean, then found out I was at least 2 weeks early. I feel you guys pain anger worry and confusion.

    • Nicette August 9, 2016 at 6:42 pm #

      A private communication was sent to Janette.

  2. Tia March 17, 2016 at 5:36 pm #

    Rosie, I have had 2 prior csections and feel the same as you. I desire to bring my next child into the world naturally where I am in control of my body and not under the knife. While I completely support the cesarean birth, I would just prefer to exhaust all options before having another one. I feel completely robbed of the opportunity and experience 😔

  3. Rosie March 12, 2016 at 1:51 pm #

    I wish to have natural childbirth. I feel cheated out of experiencing bringing life into the world…🍼🍼🍼

    • Nicette March 13, 2016 at 6:02 pm #

      Dear Rosie,

      I’m sorry to hear that you have a baby by cesarean. If you plan to get pregnant again, you probably have a good chance that you will be able to give birth on your own.

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