VBAC, short for Vaginal Birth After Caesarean, refers to the process of giving birth vaginally after having had a previous birth delivered by Caesarean section. It provides women with a possibility to experience a vaginal birth even though they’ve had a C-section in the past. However, not everyone is a candidate for VBAC, and it comes with certain risks that need to be evaluated by healthcare professionals.

Key Takeaways

  1. VBAC refers to Vaginal Birth After Cesarean, which means giving birth vaginally after having had a previous birth through a cesarean section.
  2. It is seen as an alternative to the repeat cesarean section, but not all mothers are candidates for VBAC. Various factors such as the type of uterine incision from the prior cesarean, the mother’s overall health, and the circumstances of the current pregnancy can influence the eligibility for VBAC.
  3. It carries both benefits and risks. Potential benefits of VBAC include a shorter recovery period and a lower risk of complications compared to a cesarean section. However, there is a risk of uterine rupture, which can be potentially life-threatening for both the mother and the baby.


VBAC stands for “Vaginal Birth After Caesarean,” which is a crucial matter in maternal health. This term is essential because it opens up possibilities for women who have had a previous C-section.

Many women are under the misapprehension that after a C-section, all subsequent births need to be surgical as well, when in fact, many women can successfully deliver vaginally post a caesarean, provided the conditions are right. This reduces the risk and recovery time associated with surgery.

The ability to have a VBAC can also provide a sense of empowerment and emotional satisfaction for some mothers, and facilitate a quicker return to routine activities. However, VBACs are not for everyone and each case requires careful medical assessment to balance the potential benefits against the risk of uterine rupture and other complications.

Therefore, VBAC stands as a significant element in prenatal care and postnatal options.


VBAC, or Vaginal Birth After Caesarean, is a significant term in maternity healthcare that refers to a birthing option for mothers who have previously undergone a caesarean section (C-section). The primary purpose of VBAC is to offer women the opportunity to experience a vaginal birth and avoid the potential risks associated with repeat cesarean deliveries. Women opt for this method mainly because they want to participate in a natural birth process, get back to their normal routine quicker post-birth, and reduce their recovery period as vaginal birth usually calls for shorter hospital stay and lesser postpartum discomfort.

VBAC is used to mitigate some of the medical risks associated with multiple caesarean sections like complications involving the placenta, heavy blood loss, infection, or injury to other organs. Another motive behind choosing VBAC is the desire for a more active role and emotional satisfaction in the birthing process that a vaginal birth provides.

However, a successful VBAC requires careful assessment of the mother’s health, the baby’s condition, and the specifics of the prior caesarean section. It’s worth mentioning, not all women are candidates for VBAC, and the decision should always be made in consultation with the healthcare provider considering the overall safety and benefits for both mother and baby.

Examples of VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean)

Example 1: A woman named Julia had her first child through a Caesarean section due to complications during the delivery. When she became pregnant with her second child, she was eager to try a natural birth. Her doctor agreed that she was a good candidate for VBAC, as her C-section scar was small and showed no signs of weakness. After a smooth pregnancy, Julia successfully delivered her second child vaginally, without any complications.

Example 2: Sarah had a scheduled C-section for her first child due to her baby being in a breech position. For her second pregnancy, she wanted to have a more natural birth and avoid the recovery time that C-sections require. Her obstetrician supported her decision and Sarah was able to have a successful VBAC, allowing her to recover more quickly and spend more time bonding with her newborn.

Example 3: Lisa had two children, both through Caesarean section, as they were both large babies. However, when she was pregnant with her third child, the baby was significantly smaller and her doctor suggested the option of VBAC. Lisa decided to go ahead with it, and was able to successfully deliver her third child vaginally, experiencing a completely different birth experience compared to her previous ones.

FAQs on VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Caesarean)

What is VBAC?

VBAC stands for Vaginal Birth After Caesarean. It’s when a woman delivers a baby vaginally after she has previously had a c-section.

Is VBAC safe?

Yes, VBAC is generally safe but it does come with risks, just like any other delivery method. It would be best to consult your healthcare provider to extensively discuss your options and make an informed decision.

What is the success rate of VBAC?

The success rate of VBAC varies but generally, about 60 to 80 percent of women who attempt a VBAC have a successful vaginal delivery.

Who can have a VBAC?

VBAC is usually an option for women who have had a previous c-section. However, whether a VBAC is right for you depends on the type of incision made during your c-section, the reason for the c-section, the number of previous c-sections, and other individual health factors. Consult with your healthcare provider to determine if VBAC is a suitable option for you.

What are the benefits and risks of VBAC?

Benefits of VBAC include a shorter recovery period compared to a c-section, lower risk of infection, and an increased chance of being able to have a vaginal delivery in future pregnancies. Risks can include uterine rupture and complications from emergency c-sections if a VBAC is unsuccessful.

Related Motherhood Terms

  • Trial of Labor After Cesarean (TOLAC) – The process of attempting a vaginal birth after a previous cesarean delivery.
  • Uterine Rupture – A rare but serious complication that can occur during VBAC where the uterus tears along the scar line from a prior cesarean delivery.
  • C-Section – Short for Cesarean Section, it’s a surgical procedure used to deliver a baby through incisions made in the mother’s abdomen and uterus.
  • Breech – Refers to the situation where the baby is positioned feet or buttock first in the womb opposed to the common headfirst, making vaginal birth problematic.
  • Birth Plan – A document that tells your medical team your preferences for such things as how to manage labor pain during VBAC. It can be changed or adjusted according to situations.

Sources for More Information

  • American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) is a professional association for obstetrics and gynecology. They often provide significant medical information in the field of pregnancy and childbirth, including VBAC.
  • World Health Organization (WHO) is an agency of the United Nations that focuses on public health. It provides access to a vast amount of health and wellness information, including maternity and childbirth methods like VBAC.
  • Mayo Clinic is one of the largest medical research groups in the world. Their website provides a comprehensive source of healthcare information, including data on VBAC.
  • WebMD is an online information portal that provides extensive health and medical information, including a wide array of topics on pregnancy and childbirth, including VBAC.