What is a VBAC or a HBAC?
VBAC stands for Vaginal Birth After Caesarean. HBAC stands for Home Birth After Caesarean. It is very similar to a standard vaginal delivery with one big difference, being that major surgery had been carried out on the uterus prior.
What to expect in attempting a VBAC?
VBAC's do carrier higher risk than a vaginal birth due to the fact of previous major surgery. Staff will monitor very closely to ensure any issues are picked up on immediately, which may mean you spend a lot of your labour stationary. You need to ensure you find a medical birth team that will support your choice and a hospital that allows VBAC's. When the support around you is supporting your decision the likelihood of a successful VBAC increases. If you go into preterm labour, there is still a choice of VBAC available.
What are the benefits?
- quicker recovery
- shorter hospital stays
- less need for strong pain relief post birth
- higher chance of immediate skin to skin and mobility post birth
- less issues with milk production due to naturally released hormones during labour
What are the disadvantages?
- monitoring equipment restricting movement or water pain relief during labour
- higher risk of an emergency caesarean (1 in 200 women)
- less choice on hospital and staff team due to high risk birth and staff training availability
- VBAC's are considered unsafe if you have a vertical or T shaped scar from your caesarean birth
What are the risks?
- uterine rupture
- blood loss requiring a blood transfusion
- infection in the uterus
- uterine prolapse
What else do I need to know?
VBAC is definitely achievable with the right head space and support of the birth team around you! If you are planning a VBAC you need to ensure your do research to make an informed decision about the birth plan you intend to follow. Be sure to consult with your doctors, midwives and obstetricians about the birth you would like as they will be able to give you all of the medical facts and refer you to a supporting hospital. The other possibility is a HBAC.
HBAC stands for Home Birth After Caesarean.