A natural birth after cesarean is possible and even recommended in many cases, as you avoid the risks of major surgery, you reduce the risk of complications in future pregnancies, your baby benefits from passage through the birth canal. It all depends on the reason behind your previous cesarean section, the condition of your current pregnancy and your health care.
Your odds of a successful vaginal delivery increase if you meet these criteria
a vaginal birth is not recommended if
Other less obvious factors, such as your ethnicity and information available at the time they reach the hospital, also seem to affect your ability to have a successful vaginal delivery. Latina and black women, for example, have a higher rate of repeat cesareans. Given these variables, the National Institute of Child Health Eunice Kennedy Shriver created a tool to calculate probabilities of a natural birth after cesarean that may interest you as a reference point.
The first step in attempting a vaginal delivery is a “proof of labor”, which is to allow the spontaneous onset of the phases of labor under careful observation. If the baby shows signs of fetal distress or labor does not progress, your doctor may go to an emergency Caesarean. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), between 60% and 80% percent of women performing the test labor manage to give birth vaginally.
If you try labor and you do not succeed, you run a higher risk of requiring an emergency caesarean, need blood transfusions and infection.
The most serious risk is tearing scar from your previous caesarean section or elsewhere in your uterus, however, this happens only in 1% of cases, according to ACOG. Rupture of the uterus can cause you loss of blood and risking your health and your baby. In severe cases you may require a hysterectomy (removal of your uterus) and your baby could suffer perinatal death or brain damage due to lack of oxygen.
If your test is successful labor
Sources; American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Patient education: vaginal birth after a cesarean delivery. Accessed 22 February 2016; American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Practice Bulletin: Vaginal Birth After Cesarean Delivery Previous. Accessed February 22, 2016; American Pregnancy Association. VBAC: Vaginal birth after cesarean. Accessed February 22, 2016, National Library of Medicine US vaginal birth after cesarean. Accessed February 22, 2016, Grobman, William A., et al. Does information available at admission for delivery improbe prediction of vaginal birth after cesarean? In: American Journal of Perinatology. 2009 Nov, 26 (10): 693-701. Accessed online 22 February 2016; National Institutes of Health. NIH Consensus Development Conference Statement on Vaginal Birth After Cesarean: New Insights. Accessed February 22, 2016.