Can I have a Vaginal Birth After a C-Section (VBAC)?

“Mummies, I’m after advice. I had a C-section with my first, due to a very traumatic birth, but thankfully it ended well. I’ve got a consultant appointment tomorrow and I’m going to be asked what I want for my second pregnancy/birth . I was definitely wanting an elective c section again because I’m petrified it will all go wrong again. ( most women in my family have had c sections so I think there is something wrong with me). But the idea of having a natural birth/VBAC and being able to walk around straight after is appealing. Downside is having to drive 30 minutes to hospital in labour, possibly in rush hour, really won’t help me relax! Has anyone been in this position where you have to make a choice, I’m really confused and worried?”


The following is taken from:

  • If you’ve delivered a baby by C-section, you might have a choice with your next pregnancy — schedule a repeat C-section or attempt vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC).
  • Years ago, a C-section ended any hope of future vaginal deliveries. But today, thanks largely to changes in surgical technique, VBAC is possible in many cases.

In fact, an estimated 75 percent of women who try VBAC have a successful vaginal delivery.

VBAC isn’t right for everyone, though. Sometimes a pregnancy complication or underlying condition prevents the possibility of a successful VBAC. Many local hospitals don’t offer VBAC because they don’t have the staff or resources to handle emergency C-sections.


Mum to Mum Milton Keynes replied…

My experience:  I had c-section with first at +18 days with my first child, so I asked for an elective c-section on my due date 2nd time around and if I went into natural labour I would give it a shot. My waters broke slowly 2 weeks early but yet again I could not progress to active labour so with a calm head and body (as we knew what to expect) we had another c-section and our 2nd boy came into the world safely. It is very hard to relax after trauma but it is the best way. Maybe try some relaxation techniques to calm. We always think it will happen at a busy time, I was leisurely shopping at TK max in a wet maxi dress after mine took me by surprise but it all went well.


Katie: I had to choose with my second, I choose natural but under their control so they wanted me induced, when I went in to be induced they then advised I was no where need ready but they wanted my baby delivered today so recommend a  c-section. Listen to what your consultant advises, they will know what’s right for you and your baby, i wanted a natural birth so badly & cried when told I had to have a section, but I understood it was best for both of us in the end.


Nicki: I had my baby in January and was faced with the same decision. With my first I went through the whole labour as normal (3 days of contractions, 12 hours in labour, 1 & 1/2 hours pushing etc) for it to then end in emergency c-section. This time I opted for VBAC as like you I really wanted the quick recovery! When things got started all was going well until I was pushing and baby wasn’t in a hurry to come out, eventually they took me to theatre to try forceps and if that didn’t work then section (my heart sank, I thought here we go again) but luckily all went well and he was delivered by forceps (not as bad as you think lol!!), had to stay in 1 night but just to make sure baby was ok after forceps but it was so much better than with the c-section, I think MKGH have about 75% success with VBAC deliveries. I would say go for it and they keep a much closer eye on you this time, they don’t let things go on and on like they would with first.  Hope you get on ok and everything goes well.


Amy: I gave birth ‘naturally’ and couldn’t walk further than across a room for two weeks due to everything collapsing. If I were to have another, I would go through the ‘sun roof’ as at least things are a bit more planned, less surprises and I would be able to plan for the ‘shorter in bed’ bit.


Laura: I had to choose also, I’d had a c-section previous I really wanted to try for natural so that I could experience both. I had a consultants appointment couple days before due date and asked to be booked in for a c-section for the following week so that if I didn’t go into labour naturally I’d always got that booked in. Ended up going over due date and having a planned section, luckily I did as they realised I probably wouldn’t have been able to deliver naturally without causing problems due to uterus being thin etc. It was easier second time around I knew what I was expecting and made sure my home was all ready with everything I needed close by, partner was home for first couple of weeks so that helped also. I was also very eager to get up and mobile early the next day and went home after one night, just wanted to be in my own bed and get some proper rest. Hope everything goes well.


Harriet: I had an emergency c-section for my first and opted for a ‘vbac’ for my second. If you elected for vbac they will monitor you closely and won’t let you go too late (so normally give you an elective c section date). I was pleased I managed a “natural” birth but recovery was actually quicker with the c-section. Ask the midwife and hospital for all the risks/advantages of both so you can make an informed decision. Good luck.


Suzanne: I had an emergency section after 43 hour labour with no progress and was asked to decide what to do with my second. I was really struggling with the decision, but when the consultant looked at my notes from previous section he said I couldn’t safely have a natural birth so decision got taken out of my hands. So I would wait & see what they say tomorrow. If the choice is still yours you don’t actually have to decide until 32 weeks. By that time with my 2nd I would have opted for the c-section because everything with my pregnancy was the same as my first and I think the labour would have been the same.


I have to say that the experience of a planned section was much calmer than the first and my recovery has been much better too, so all around I had a very positive experience of a planned section.


Rosie: I really wanted a water birth first time, I never got anywhere near water. 2nd time I got in a pool and was in there quite a while. Due to a prolonged 2nd stage of labour (again) I did have my natural labour but it was assisted by forceps. If I’m honest, I wasn’t any better off physically, I wasn’t up and about within hours, far from it. Yes I’m glad I did manage to have a natural labour but I wouldn’t ‘hang on to the image’ that you bounce back much quicker. Good luck.


Natalie: I opted for another c-section (after emergency) and can’t recommend it enough. Had the date, no long labour, childcare sorted, calm procedure, stayed in 2 nights and recovery a million times faster! Not worth the risk in my opinion.


Helen: I had an Emergency C-section the first time and remained indecisive the 2nd time, even while I was in labour I was still debating going for a c-section! I ended up having a ‘natural birth’ and I was really pleased about that as I found the recovery better. I have recently had my third and had planned VBAC again but he was breech and so had an elective c-section. I know a lot of people find elective’s great and it was in terms of being organised etc but for me personally it was the worst recovery of all 3 deliveries. I was under the guidance of a consultant the last 2 times and that really helped. Think they gave me pretty good advice. I appreciate how hard it is to decide and to be honest there is no perfect/easy option, they each have pros and cons. Take the guidance of your consultant and remember there’s no rush to decide, you might find later on you have a strong feeling one way or the other later one. Good luck!


Samantha: On the day the staff were amazing! I had one complication after delivery but all was ok. My son was absolutely fine and I was surprised that I was able to walk the next day! I was home after four nights in (due to my own complication) but I walked to the car, got in, made bottles. Got up and down the stairs ok. It was amazing to be able to pick up and hold my baby as well as bend to give my four-year old a kiss goodnight. That’s my experience and everyone is different. I’d recommend doing a pro and cons list and going from there. Make your own decision and do not let the consultant change your mind if your certain on your option. For me it was taken out of my hands but was easy with sorting out childcare for my four-year old. Yes I wish I had ‘done labour’ but, I made and grew my two amazing children, so no matter how they get out we’ve all done amazingly well to get them here!