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If you have had one or more cesarean sections (C-sections), you will have to decide if you want to plan another C-section (repeat C-section) or what is commonly called a vaginal birth after cesarean section (VBAC — “vee-back” — for short). This decision will affect you, your baby and any future pregnancies.
Unfortunately, quite a few hospitals and doctors do not support VBAC, even though the best research and professional guidelines support it in most cases. There are a number of reasons, including fear of lawsuits, insurance company restrictions and convenience of scheduled deliveries, among others. Ultimately though, the effect is the same: if you wish to use their services, you must accept surgical delivery.
So what can you do? Your best approach is to become informed, clarify your goals well in advance, and then seek care that matches those goals. You will want to learn about both VBAC and repeat C-section, understand the risks and benefits of both and weigh your own values and concerns so that you can reach a decision that is best for you. Once you make a decision about VBAC or repeat C-section, careful planning can help you reach your goals. Next steps are described in the Planning Ahead section. See the Cesarean Section part of this website for more information on C-section.
Learn about vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC), how it compares with having a repeat C-section, and why your maternity care provider may prefer one over the other.
Read about things to consider as you look at having another C-section or planning VBAC.
Understand the research and evidence behind repeat C-section compared with VBAC, including in-depth information on risks and benefits to you and your baby.