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VBAC: Am I Qualified?

VBAC or vaginal birth after cesarean is gaining traction nowadays. We’re slowly breaking that belief that once you delivery via CS, there is no longer any option for you but another CS delivery for the next birth. “Once a CS, always a CS,” that’s what we’ve always heard–even to this day.

But what a happy thought that it has been proven wrong time and time again!

You might think that VBAC is a new and trendy thing since it is only being talked about now. The truth is… it is NOT! Older women I know personally, and even one of my own mentors, Katherine Bramhall, had her own VBAC some 40 years ago! A big reason why it sounds so foreign is because women have been led to believe that the choices are limited when it comes to childbirth. But really, choosing to deliver a child vaginally after a cesarean section is definitely one of them.

Am I Qualified for a VBAC?

I’m so happy that you’re here reading this entry, because that must mean you have heard of VBAC And if you’ve had a previous cesarean, you’re also probably weighing whether you are qualified for it and if VBAC can be an option for you as well. Some of you may even base your decision whether to have another child based on this information. As Meg Fraser candidly puts it, if you are pregnant and you have a vagina, you ARE qualified for it.

Is it really as simple as this? Well, yes and no.

According to Lamaze International, the average success rate for a VBAC of 70-80% is higher than that of a first time normal spontaneous birth, which is 67%. So, really, what makes a woman a suitable candidate for VBAC aside from having the right organs?

In the Philippine context, there are three general qualifications we are looking at:

  • There must be an 18-month gap between the previous CS birth and the next birth. Simply put, your older child must be at least 9 months when you conceive, and subsequently around 1.5 years old by the time you give birth to your next child.

  • Your cesarean incision must be low transverse or low vertical. This cut is often called “bikini-cut”. You can find this information in the medical abstract provided by your birth facility or doctor. Remember that the cut you see outside your body may not be the same as the one made on your uterus, so it is better to refer to your operation notes.

  • You must not have had more than two CS births prior to your planned VBAC. The maximum allowed in our country is VBA2C – vaginal birth after two cesareans. This has something to do with the health status of your uterus, in terms of scarring and adhesion.

With these three things in mind, you can tell that it’s actually not hard to qualify for a VBAC. In fact, roughly 90% of women with past CS are candidates, yet only 10% get a VBAC. Most of the time, this is due mainly to an non-supportive healthcare provider or policies of healthcare facilities--not the woman's body, strength or courage to have a VBAC. So, please don’t let anyone or anything discourage; you and let this simple list be the start of your explorations for your VBAC birth. Stay tuned for our following topics on VBAC, such as its benefits and risks, and key preparations for success, to gain knowledge and confidence in your journey.

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