Vaginal birth after cesarean

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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:50 pm
Although you may have had a cesarean (see-SAIR-ee-an) section with previous births, changes in attitudes and advances in medicine and technology have made delivering your next baby vaginally an option you can consider. A vaginal birth after caesarean can mean a safer and more comfortable labor and delivery, and a shorter hospital stay. But keep in mind that it has some risks, too. The first step towards deciding if you can try a vaginal birth after a caesarean is to talk to your doctor. He or she will discuss the pros and cons with you, taking into account your previous birthing history and the general health of you and your baby. Typically, having had what's called a 'classical' cesarean, with a high vertical incision, can increase the chance of uterine rupture in labor. However, the classical technique is rarely performed anymore. Before making a recommendation, your doctor may evaluate reasons for your previous cesarean, such as failure to progress during labor, position or size of a previous baby, fetal distress, toxemia, or bleeding. Location of the prior incision is also a factor. A horizontal lower uterine incision is preferable if you wish to have a vaginal birth following a c-section. Still, the final decision on whether it's possible will probably be made during the actual labor and delivery. The medical team will continuously monitor you and the baby. If any questions should arise, your doctor can respond quickly to determine the safest delivery option for you both. For more information on vaginal birth after cesarean, consult a health care provider.

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