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Robert R. Cawley, D.O.

Dover, NH 03802

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Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC): Am I a Good Candidate?

By Jeffrey Johnson, MD, maternal-fetal medicine specialist & chairman of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital

Expectant mothers have many decisions to make about their health care during the nine months of pregnancy. As a maternal-fetal medicine doctor, specializing in the care of high-risk pregnancies, I’m here to offer guidance throughout this exciting time in their lives.

One question women often ask me is: “Am I a good candidate for a VBAC?”

A VBAC is a vaginal birth after cesarean. Many women who have had previous C-sections want to labor and try to deliver vaginally – and it’s a decision I fully support. For women who are considered good candidates for VBAC, a vaginal birth can have many benefits, including faster recovery times, shorter hospital stays, less discomfort and less chance of blood transfusions and postpartum infections.

We see a lot of VBAC success stories. Overall, 60-80% of women who attempt a VBAC birth are successful in delivering their babies vaginally.

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, you are a good candidate for a VBAC if:

  • Your previous cesarean incision was a low-transverse (horizontal) rather than a vertical or T-shape incision.
  • Your pelvis is considered large enough for the baby to safely pass through.
  • You have not had other uterine surgeries, such as fibroid removal.
  • You have no other obstetrical problems (such as placenta previa or a breech baby) that would make a vaginal delivery risky. 

Every woman’s medical history and pregnancy is different, and there are countless factors that can contribute to your decision to try for a VBAC. How long was it since you last delivery? What was the reason for your previous C-section? Is your baby overdue? Your obstetrician or midwife can discuss all these factors with you and help you understand your benefits and risks, so you can make a decision that is right for you.

Always, the safety if your delivery and health of your baby is at the heart of what we do. Should you choose a VBAC, Wentworth-Douglass hospital has supportive providers and nurses who want to help you achieve the labor you envision.

OB/GYN practices that deliver at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital are Wentworth Health Partner OB/GYN & Infertility, Dover Women’s Health, Garrison Women’s Health, and Goodwin Community Health.

Considering a vaginal birth after cesarean? Learn more about the VBAC services offered at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital Women & Children’s Center.