Medical malpractice


VBAC: The Risk of Natural Births Following Previous C-Sections

March 12, 2019 by Carrie Capouellez

Babies are born either vaginally or by cesarean sections. A cesarean delivery is a surgical procedure in which a fetus is delivered through an incision in the mother’s abdomen. Sometimes mothers plan ahead for cesarean sections, but in other cases, a cesarean section is necessary because an emergency arises during labor. Cesarean sections (C-sections) are more common than ever before.  According to the Centers for Disease Control, the national Cesarean birth rate is approximately 29%. After delivering by Cesarean section, when women become pregnant again, they rightfully have concerns about a vaginal birth after cesarean section (VBAC).

What is a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean)?

A VBAC (vaginal birth after C-section) is the vaginal delivery of a baby by a woman who previously had a C-section. In recent years, VBACs have been attempted on fewer than 20% of women who previously had C-sections. There are obstetrical situations in which VBACs are very dangerous and inadvisable.

Risks of a VBAC

Vaginal births after Cesarean section delivery (VBACs) increase the risk of serious health complications and emergencies. Because of the severity of a uterine rupture, emergency C-Sections must be performed within 2-15 minutes of the rupture. This occurs most commonly when labor induction drugs are used, when the mother is 35+, and when the mother has had multiple C-Sections prior to delivery. Due to the serious risk of uterine rupture, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) recommends VBAC in only very low-risk cases.

Once you have had a Cesarean delivery, you will have a scar on your uterus extending along the site of the surgical incision. For most women, the uterine scar is horizontal and on the lower part of the uterus. The scar on your uterus can be prone to separate and rupture during a subsequent vaginal delivery when the forces of uterine contractions stretch and push on the scar.

When too much pressure is exerted on the uterine scar, it can separate and rupture and lead to devastating consequences for the mother and child. When the uterus ruptures, the baby and/or the placenta can be expelled into the abdominal cavity. Then, the baby is completely outside the uterus, receives no oxygen, and must be delivered on an emergency basis by C-section within minutes. Every second counts when the baby is free-floating outside of the uterus.

The rupture of the uterus poses big risks to the mother as well. The uterine rupture causes internal bleeding in the mother, which can lead to maternal death.

Contact a Knowledgeable Philadelphia Attorney for a Birth Injury Case

If you have been injured because of VBAC and/or Cesarean section malpractice, our law firm may be able to help you recover damages from responsible parties. Contact us today.

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