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Vaginal Birth

Normal Vaginal Birth

  • Most women with routine or High Risk Pregnancy will have a normal vaginal birth.
  • The baby is delivered through the birth canal without the use of instruments.
  • There is a risk of tear in the birth canal with any type of vaginal birth. Occasionallly there is a need to make a small incision in the birth canal (Episiotomy) to facilitate birth. These can be easily repaired by your delivery Provider.
Illustrations of operative vaginal delivery procedures; forceps and vacuum based methods.

Operative Vaginal Delivery

Operative vaginal delivery is delivery of the baby with Forceps or Vacuum.

  • These procedures are reserved for specific obstetrical circumstances:
    • Mother is unable to expel the baby because of fatigue.
    • Certain medical conditions that make pushing dangerous to your health
    • Your baby’s heart rate is non-reassuring (the Provider is concern that the baby may not be getting enough oxygen)
  • At the very least, your cervix must be fully dilated (10 centimeters) and the baby’s head must be low enough on the pelvic floor to qualify for operative vaginal delivery
  • Each of these procedures have their unique set of risks, advantages, and indications. Neither one is superior to another and the choice will be determined by the delivering physician.
  • Your Provider will discuss with you in detail if there is a need for operative vaginal delivery in your labor course.

Vaginal Birth After Cesarean

  • The historical adage, “once a C-section, always a C-section”, is no longer true.
  • There are scientific data showing that under the right circumstances, Vaginal Birth After Cesarean Section (VBAC) can be a safe alternative to Repeat C-section.
  • There is a 0.5-2% chance (depending on how many prior c-section, the duration between pregnancies, if you go into labor / induced, etc) of significant complications (uterine repture) with this approach.
  • Having an elective Repeat C-section does not nullify the risk of uterine rupture. The uterus can still rupture even if you do not labor.
  • Due to the risks associated with uterine rupture, an obstetrician and L&D team capable of performing an emergency C-section will be immediately available until the delivery of the baby.
  • Your Provider will discuss with you specifically the risks and benefits of VBAC versus repeat C-section and also assess if you are a good candidate for VBAC or Repeat C-section.
  • If you decide to elect VBAC, we must review your prior C-section report.
  • These are reliable medical websites regarding VBAC and Repeat C-section