VBAC Gets the All-Clear

c-sectionFinally a little good news if you've had a c-section and don't want another.

Despite a number of hospitals banning the VBAC (vaginal birth after c-section), the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has given the practice the all-clear for most women.

Was that a Snoopy dance we just saw?


An estimated one in three women give birth via c-section in America these days -- for a number of reasons.

But for all those necessary c-sections the first time around, just as many second-time c-sections are unnecessary.

Women like Joy Szabo, who became national news for comparing her forced c-section to a rape last year, have had no choice about a second surgery, however, because of rules from the College that left OB/GYNs fearful of lawsuits.

The new guidelines still give docs an out, but they recognize the horror of a knife to the stomach for the woman.

Say the new guidelines:

The College says that restrictive VBAC policies should not be used to force women to undergo a repeat cesarean delivery against their will if, for example, a woman in labor presents for care and declines a repeat cesarean delivery at a center that does not support [trial of labor after cesarean]. On the other hand, if, during prenatal care, a physician is uncomfortable with a patient's desire to undergo VBAC, it is appropriate to refer her to another physician or center.

In a press release issued by the College, Jeffrey L. Ecker, MD, from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and immediate past vice chair of the Committee on Practice Bulletins-Obstetric, zeroes in specifically on women's rate of success and suggests doctors look at that when making a decision. 

As much as 80 percent of VBACs are successful, he says -- although rates have dropped to just 8.5 percent of women actually going for one in recent years. 

This could mark a major turnaround for the medical establishment, but will it actually force the hospitals that have banned the VBAC back in the other direction? For women like Joy Szabo's sake, let's hope so.

Are you bouyed by the chance to try again?


Image via Tammra McCauley/Flickr

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