Top of the page. If you have had a cesarean delivery also called a C-section before, you may be able to deliver your next baby vaginally. This is called vaginal birth after cesarean, or VBAC. Most women, whether they deliver vaginally or by C-section , don't have serious problems from childbirth. This means that you plan to go into labor with the goal to deliver vaginally. But as in any labor, it is hard to know if a VBAC will work.
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Babies can enter this world in one of two ways: Pregnant women can have either a vaginal birth or a surgical delivery by Caesarean section, but the ultimate goal of both delivery methods is to safely give birth to a healthy baby. In some cases, C-sections are planned for medical reasons that make a vaginal birth too risky. A woman may know in advance that she will need a C-section and schedule it because she is expecting twins or other multiples, or because she may have a medical condition, such as diabetes or high blood pressure. A C-section may also be scheduled ahead of time because a woman has an infection that she could pass along to her baby during birth, such as HIV or genital herpes, or if she experiences problems with the placenta during her pregnancy.
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Mairead Black previously received funding from The Wellcome Trust as part of a research training fellowship to investigate the long-term health of children delivered by planned caesarean section and factors influencing women's birth choices after a previous caesarean section. Republish our articles for free, online or in print, under Creative Commons licence. When it comes to childbirth, vaginal delivery is often assumed to be the best thing — women have, after all, done it for thousands of years. But natural birth actually comes with risks, including tearing, haemorrhage and incontinence for the mother and injuries to the baby during labour.
If you've delivered a baby by C-section and you're pregnant again, you might be able to choose between scheduling a repeat C-section or a vaginal birth after cesarean VBAC. For many women, VBAC is an option. In fact, research on women who attempt a trial of labor after cesarean TOLAC shows that about 60 to 80 percent have a successful vaginal delivery.