Cesarean sections account for one out of every four births in the United States. VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) has been proven to be safe for almost all women, and is recommended as a safe option by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). Still, one third of all cesareans are for mothers scheduling a repeat surgical delivery. For years the motto "once a cesarean, always a cesarean" was considered to be gospel, and it seems that old myths die hard.
Research show that approximately 80 percent of women who have given birth by cesarean will be able to go on to give birth vaginally. (Some studies even show success rates of over 90 percent.) Over 75 percent of the birthing women who were originally diagnosed with CPD (cephalopelvic disproportion) or FTP (failure to progress) were successful in their attempts to have a VBAC with their subsequent birth. One third of these women gave birth to a larger baby than their first.When a cesarean section is necessary, it is an important lifesaving procedure. If chosen as an alternative to attempting a vaginal birth, it is important to be aware that it is major surgery, and not without risk. Giving birth vaginally is safest for both mom and baby, and saves health care dollars.Media coverage of a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA 2002;287(20):2684-2690), may have many women concerned about the safety of VBAC. Find out what the study really had to say.