VBACs: You and your baby's health should come first


10 May 2012

A recent question came through to me on VBACs – which, if you don’t know what that is, stands for Vaginal Birth After Caesars: so you have had a C-section and for your next baby want a ‘natural’ or vaginal birth.

Are VBACs safe, is the general question we get at the magazine and there is no simple answer. It’s kind of like asking how long is a piece of string. So much depends on the reasons for your first C-sec and your own body but our general advice is always to talk to – and trust – your doctor.

If you don’t trust them or simply don’t like what he or she has to say, then get a second opinion. If 2 or more doctors veto a VBAC then really, it’s a no-brainer: you may not like it, but you may not be a good candidate for a VBAC.

I have heard absolute horror stories of women insisting on trying for natural birth after C-sec and losing their babies, their uteruses and often, themselves. Like most horror stories you are not really sure of the statistics of how often this does happen. So I don’t want to debate that.

The point I do want to make is that I simply don’t get it. I don’t understand why you would get bogged down in a rite of passage that is – in my opinion – not yours. This is your baby’s journey. Birth is their thing. And by your second and third babies surely by now moms must realise that the birth is a mere blip on the radar of this extensive thing called life.

Experts all agree that the birth experience is important for both parties. But I always think it’s the experience of birth that matters more. If you remember the day with love and joy then really, who cares how the baby was actually born? As long as it is in a loving, safe and calm environment your baby will only experience good things on his birth-day too.

So for women who are on their second and third pregnancies and have realised that these little people are so much more than their births, to then insist on a blatantly unsafe birth simply to satisfy some longing of their own is just baffling to me.

And since C-secs are now the norm (in private health care in some countries anyway) I wonder if in 25 years' time, when most leaders of industry are children born from the sunroof, if the evidence will all point to a C-sec being the preferred choice of birth after all?

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24