What is the probability that I will be able to deliver vaginally after a previous caesarean section, if I should want to?

The probability of giving birth vaginally depends on the reason for your previous caesarean section. 


Lower body (bottom down)


A little more than three out of four women (75-80%) deliver vaginally if the reason for their first caesarean section was that the baby was breech.

Other reasons. Such as distressed baby or sick pregnant woman (e.g. pre-eclampsia, etc.)


At least 6 out of 10 women (60-70%) give birth vaginally if the reason for their first caesarean was a distressed baby or sick pregnant woman.

Lack of progress in labour


A little more than half of women (50-60%) give birth vaginally if the reason for their first caesarean was lack of progress in labour.

In general, the likelihood of being able to give birth vaginally after a previous caesarean section is also slightly lower in the following situations:

Severe obesity

The higher your BMI (Body Mass Index), the lower your likelihood of giving birth vaginally. Example: A BMI above 30.

Size of baby

If the baby is assessed to be very large in relation to your height. Example: a baby of 4800 g where the mother is 170 cm tall.

A number of other factors may also affect your likelihood of giving birth vaginally after a previous caesarean section:

The number of pregnancies you are planning to have

The risk of problems during future deliveries increases with the number of caesarean sections you have had. If you have had two caesarean sections you will probably be recommended a caesarean section the third time as well.

The length of time since your caesarean section

The time between your cesarean section and your next delivery (due date) affects your ability to try to give birth vaginally. There is less than a half percent risk (0.45%) of the scar in the uterus rupturing during labour because this area in the uterus is weaker and less elastic.

The risk of this is lower if more than two years have passed between the caesarean section and your next delivery. If less than two years have passed you will probably be recommended a caesarean section.

What is important to you for this delivery

Even though there may be no medical reasons for a caesarean section there may still be other reasons that you would prefer this procedure. You may be nervous about having to go through a prolonged labour and end up having a caesarean section anyway.

Together with your midwife and obstetrician you will figure out what is important to you, whether it is to deliver vaginally or by caesarean section. If you want to try to give birth vaginally you may make specific arrangements for your delivery in advance.


Rie made sure that there was a plan for the details in her delivery

“This was positive because the obstetrician kept telling me that they were monitoring the delivery the whole time so that I would not be in labour for as many hours as the first time.

So in this respect I knew that there would be an end to it, I knew that I would not be in labour for days. And I knew that it would be stopped at a specified time. Of course, this was also the case the first time since it ended with an emergency caesarean, so this time the labour would not be permitted to go on for so long.”

Rie

Speak with your obstetrician about the probability of delivering vaginally so you can get a realistic idea of your options.


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