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Vaginal birth after caesarean section

Many women who have a baby by caesarean section want to know if it’s possible to have a vaginal birth next time. 

In many cases, the answer is yes. There are different risks, and different benefits, to each but, depending on the reasons for the initial caesarean, it is usually safe.

The benefits of vaginal birth after caesarean

In broad terms, there are a number of benefits to having a vaginal birth after a caesarean (VBAC). Importantly, these may or may not apply to your specific case. If you’re planning on having more babies in the future, and want to have those babies vaginally, a successful VBAC will give you greater confidence and a greater chance of having vaginal births in the future.

A successful vaginal birth will usually mean a shorter recovery time and a shorter stay in hospital – you’ll usually be home within three to four days. You’ll experience much less abdominal pain. While there will be the expected aches and cramps associated with your uterus shrinking back to normal size, you will not have to deal with the added pain of recovering from a surgery.


Babies born vaginally have a lower risk of some respiratory problems.

The Risks Of Vaginal Birth After A Caesarean

While the risks for this procedure have decreased over the last decade or two, there are some risks involved. The two most common concerns Guy hears from couples are whether there will be a need for an emergency c-section during labour and if the previous scar can rupture.

The chance you’ll need an emergency caesarean is present whether you have had a c-section in the past or not. It depends on the labour itself and how smoothly it goes. Rest assured, Guy will make sure you’re fully aware of what might or might not happen, well before you go into the birthing suite.

There is a very minor chance of a previous scar rupturing (around 0.5%). While this can have serious consequences, the chances of a rupture will be very carefully monitored during your labour and, at all times, your health and your baby’s health will drive any decisions made during labour.

The Risks Vary From Woman To Woman

Having a vaginal birth after a caesarean section (VBAC) is a personal choice. Guy has over two decades experience in this area and has seen the advances in care and knowledge over that time.  He will be able to help you understand what is involved for you, the potential risks and benefits for you and your baby, and the likely success of achieving a normal birth.

Things Worth Knowing About VBAC

Guy will sit down with you and discuss how you want to give birth. Given Guy delivers babies at two of Melbourne’s largest maternal hospitals, you’ll have the comfort of having a fully outfitted birth suite to ensure you and your baby remain as safe as possible throughout the birth.

He’ll discuss things like:

  •       Why you had the caesarean in the first place – if there are underlying issues such as the shape of your uterus, if it was an emergency birth or a breech presentation – and will want to investigate whether this is likely to happen again.
  •       The type of cut you had – different obstetricians use different cuts and, if you had another obstetrician Guy will want to determine if the cut has impacted the uterus and the chances of success for a vaginal birth.
  •       How your pregnancy is going – if your health and weight are in check, if your baby is in the normal size range, if there have been any complications, or any symptoms similar to anything you felt in your previous pregnancy.
  •       How you feel about a vaginal birth – and how you felt about your previous experience.

Certainly, if you are planning a vaginal birth, and you go into spontaneous labour, this can strongly influence the success of a vaginal birth.


Yes. Although it will depend on why you needed the C-section for your previous pregnancy, any complications which may have resulted from that caesarean, and what you might expect should you wish to have another baby.

All these issues can be talked over with your obstetrician and explored further to work out if it is right for you.

The main risk is the possible tearing of the previous caesarean uterine scar.