For anyone who doesn't know, a VBAC is a "Vaginal Birth after Cesarean". I had a cesarean with Samuel due to fetal distress. I had hoped for a VBAC with Sydney but unfortunately she was showing signs of distress before birth so my Dr., and the second Dr. whom I sought an opinion from, both highly recommended a repeat c-section the next morning. They said they'd allow for labor if it occurred naturally by the next morning but if it wouldn't they felt a c-section was required to get baby girl out quickly and ensure she continued to thrive (they didn't see induction as an option for me due to increased chance of uterine rupture given the fact that I had a previous cesarean, and I agreed with them).
Anyway, a friend of mine is about to attempt a VBAC and I promised her I'd put up some great information that was sent to me by a local hospital. This information supports VBACS, something that can be hard to find these days in our lawsuit-happy world.
I believe that doctors and patients need to make it a priority to attempt the most natural birth possible, including VBAC attempts (provided both mother and baby are healthy). (When I say natural, that doesn't mean I'm opposed to some help with the pain along the way ladies! Though I admire anyone who does a medication-free delivery and I do see that as an ideal birth plan.). Baby and Mom experience many physical benefits from a vaginal birth that I think are often overlooked. Likewise, I think risks to cesarean (which is a major surgery), and the recovery effort from them, are often underestimated. There are risks to cesareans too. I had a friend who contracted an infection from her c-section and was in and out of the hospital for 3 months and was not able to care for her newborn baby. I have another friend who had to have a transfusion after delivery. And while my c-sections didn't have any complications, my second section was very difficult for me to recover from and my incision kept showing signs of the beginnings of potential opening (though luckily I was able to mitigate with some intense rest).
I do want to make it clear that I'm thankful the Doctors were able to help ensure I delivered 2 healthy babies, regardless of their route to the world and I do believe most often c-sections are warranted. In the end, the goal of any birth plan should be the health of mom and baby. My point is that for women who have had a cesarean, I want them to know that the 2nd time around they do have a choice. They can choose VBAC. Yes, there are risks to VBACs, and yes this risk has a small potential to be catastrophic. However, their are catastrophic risks to any birth and the increase in catastrophic risk from VBAC is quite small. Mostly I want people to be aware that there are risks to c-section too. Whether you choose a repeat-C (which I also support as long as it's what the mother and her doctor feel is best for her and baby), or a VBAC, the point is: Get informed. Do your research. Their are risks to both and you need to weigh the pros and cons against your own situation and beliefs.
For the power point on benefits/risks of VBACs click here.