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Birth After Caesarean

Updated: Sep 26, 2019

If you had ‘failure to progress’ labour ending in an unplanned section or another birth experience which has left you lacking confidence in how your body works, then repeat caesarean might seem tempting.

Women may be encouraged not to put themselves through it again. They may be told they are putting their babies at risk and setting themselves up for another failure. Perhaps this goes some way to explaining why our high national caesarean rate is made up of a large number of ‘elective’ repeat caesareans.

Yet how much of an informed choice is a choice made purely out of fear of the alternatives and lack of good information on the real options? Do women choose repeat caesarean because their only experience of labour is about pain and disappointment and feeling that their body let them down? Or, perhaps worse, do they choose caesarean because they cannot face trusting their bodies and their babies?

If you are caught in a dilemma of not wanting another caesarean but not wanting a difficult labour or vaginal birth either, another pregnancy may seem daunting. If you are pregnant and feeling fearful of what may happen, planning carefully can enable you to regain the confidence and control that you may have lost last time. It may help you to focus on the fact that the risks of VBAC are small and that research only looks at trends and general outcomes. Your decision will be a personal one for this pregnancy, this baby, this time for you. VBAC can seem out of reach with too many barriers to overcome, however a good experience of VBAC is possible for most women. With good information it should be possible to plan for a vaginal birth with confidence.

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