36 answers

Is a Natural Birth Possible After 2 C-section Deliveries??

This is the first time I've asked a question on this site. I would like to thank everyone that takes the time to respond.

I was married a few months ago and have 2 children from my previous marriage. My husband has never had children. We are planning to have children in the future. With my previous deliveries I have had c-sections. However, if the baby is not too big this time I would love to share the experience of natural childbirth with my wonderful husband. Does anyone have any information on whether or not this is possible after 2 previous c-sections? I would also love to hear from anyone who has been through this.

Thank you so much for your input!!

Just to clarify.....by "natural" delivery, I mean vaginal birth not drug-free. Thank you.

What can I do next?

More Answers

hi L.,
i'm a labor and delivery nurse, and i will put my two cents in! i think you might have a hard time finding a doctor that will support your choice, for a couple of reasons. the first thing you need to look at is why did you have c/s before? if your babies were breech or sideways, or there was an emergency, that's one thing. if your labors were dysfunctional, and the babies never came down or you never dilated far enough, or when it came time to push you couldn't push them out (not meaning you were a wimp, meaning either they were big, or your pelvis is narrow, etc), that's another. the second scenarios are more indicative of IF a vaginal delivery is possible or not. the other thing to consider is that your uterus is a muscle, and each time it was cut into (for your two previous c/s), it had to heal, and that scar tissue isn't quite as strong as it was originally... with each subsequent pregnancy your risk of your uterus rupturing during labor increases, and although i can't remember the numbers off the top of my head, i know it's not a huge percentage, but it's also not something to gamble with. and i do believe if it's going to happen, it's most likely to happen in the earlier stages of labor (up to around 4 cms dilated). this is why most physicians choose to schedule a c/s for around 39 weeks gestation-- you're near enough to term that the baby is well developed, your body is more ready to deliver, and *hopefully* you haven't started contracting too much at that point. the question then becomes how do YOU feel about it all? there is a risk that it won't work, there is a risk your uterus could rupture (which really is as big of a deal as it sounds, maybe even bigger!), and there's also the chance that it could work and turn out the way you want it to! i suspect you somehow feel cheated of a "normal" delivery... i myself had a c/s with my daughter, and that's exactly what i felt. and for my next child, i would like the opportunity to try to VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) if i could, and if i can't... oh well. the thing is, no matter what way our children come into the world to us, we love them as much as we could-- no one way makes you a better mother, or a "failure" or anything like that. you need to figure out what's important to you, do some research, and find a doctor you trust, and then make your plan from there. good luck and keep us posted!

2 moms found this helpful

It's not that it's physically impossible or improbable, it has everything to do with whether you can find a doctor who is open to the idea. I'm not sure if by "natural" you mean drug-free natural or just a vaginal birth. If you mean drug-free, I would recommend you look into the Bradley method or Birthworks. If you take a class in either of those methods (whether you do drug-free or not) you'll have much more information and confidence to stand up to your doctor for what you want and to know when your doctor is telling you to do something just for the doctor's benefit.

1 mom found this helpful

I've had 2 VBAC's after 1 c-section and I was amazed at the difference so I would highly recommend you pursue it if you can. Some great resources: www.ican-online.org (they have a local chapter that meets monthly), www.birthcarenetwork.com, and a book called "The THinking Woman's guide to a Better Birth".

1 mom found this helpful

having a vbac is not safe you and your baby could die. However many women have tried this some succeed and some have to have c-section again. I myself would like to vbac knowing the risk, since you have had two sections its more dangerous than if you had had one. What was the reason for your sections? Faliure to progress, breach, or fetal destress, or shoulder width. I know how it feels when you want a vaginal delivery because I am in your shoes only I have had one c/s for fetal destress. I work in Labor and Del and have seen success and faliure. If you rupture there is not much time to save the baby and you could bleed to death.

1 mom found this helpful

May I just say how delighted I am at the majority of these responses? How enlightened these mamas are! Go Mamasource!!

Just want to add/clarify/muddy-the-waters on a few things:

"Just ask your doctor." There is a very real chance that your doctor won't go for it. That doesn't mean it isn't possible. You may have to interview several care providers (ob's and midwives) to find one willing to work with you. Lots dismiss it out of hand for dogmatic reasons (aka 'it's just not done') or liability reasons (it's high-risk legally, but not medically). I've known women to interview as many as 6 before they found one.

"You need time to heal." Most OBs want 18-24 months between deliveries. You're well past that; it shouldn't be an issue.

"It's only possible with a bikini incision." Yes and no. Firstly, it's worth noting that the skin incision and the uterine incision aren't necessarily the same. You'll have to get a copy of your records from the hospital to check. Also check whether the incision was closed with a single suture or a double. Some providers are skittish with a single suture. (The studies go both ways on this issue. It's certainly been done with a single. But they're sure to ask, so find out.) Secondly, you can vbac with any kind of incision; bikini, classical, T-cut, J-cut... It's been done. But the other incisions raise the risks a little.

"It's too risky that your uterus will rupture after two." Whether it's TOO risky is up to the mother's judgement. How risky is it? Well, the studies vary, but overall (and compensating for study size and what factors they did and didn't control for, etc) it's probably 1-2%. Which is, yes, higher than after 1 section (~.4%) or no section (~.2%). But it's still about the same as the other things that could happen to any mother that would result in an emergency c-section (aka. cord prolapse 1%, fetal distress 3-5%, etc). AND when it's compared to the equally real risks of repeat abdominal surgery, plenty of women decide it's six of one and half-dozen of the other. For a comparison of vbac vs csection risks http://childbirthconnection.org/article.asp?ck=10210&...

I also heartily recommend an independent childbirth course, like Bradley, when the time comes. Even if you're more "I'll hold out as long as I can" instead of "absolutely no meds", they're invaluable at laying out the pros and cons of all the issues out there so that you can decide what's best for your family. And it'd give you a lot more confidence in the body God created for you (that He designed to birth babies). Not to mention the awesome coping techniques. (I myself am a "hold out as long as I can" mom who actually held out the entire labor and delivery. And now I wouldn't do it any other way.)

www.ican-online.org has a great email support list and book list, if you're a reader. www.plus-size-pregnancy.org has MUCHO info on pregancy and birth topics, very evidence based. Also try www.vbacfacts.com

Write me if you have any questions. And it's awesome that you're thinking about this in advance. Way to go, mom!

ETA: "If baby's not too big this time..." You'd be AMAZED how often women give birth to babies bigger than the one they were cut for. The doctor's term for it big-baby is macrosomia or cpd (cephalo-pelvic disporportion). Lots of times it's really less about how big the baby is and more about whether the baby is malpositioned or whether the mother's movement has been restricted. A great video montage about this very thing: http://youtube.com/watch?v=roFVkDV45MM

1 mom found this helpful

A natural vaginal delivery is possible after a c-section. It may not be the safest option. There is a good possibility that you could tear your uterus at the incision sight from the 2 prior c-sections. There is a lot of scar tissue on your uterus because you have already had 2 c-sections which adds an extra danger. It also depends on why you had to have both c-sections during your deliveries.

My son was born by c-section due to the fact that I remained at 7cm for more than 5 hours after 10 hours of labor. The physician informed me after he was born that I only had a 30% chance at a vaginal delivery next time. He said my son's head was engaged in my pelvis when he pulled him out during the c-section. My son was only 7lbs 1oz. Three years later when it was time to deliver my daughter, I requested another c-section. I did not want to go through labor again and still end up in the operating room. After my OB/GYN delivered my daughter, he said that I made the right decision to have another c-section. Her head was engaged as was her brother's. The docotor said I would have never been able to get her through my pelvis. He said my pelvic bone was to small.

I think that if you and your husband conceive a child in love and you carry the baby in your body nurishing it for 37-40 weeks, that is as NATURAL as it gets. It is more important for you and your entire family to experience a safe and healthy delivery rather than a vaginal one. You definitely would not want to end up in any kind of crash emergency situation. Your husband won't be cheated out of anything if he is blessed to be the biological father of a beautiful, happy & healthy baby boy or girl!

God bless your family as you continue to grow together!

1 mom found this helpful

YES! Please look up Ina May Gaskin's excellent natural birth book: Ina May's Guide to Childbirth - it's the most recent of her two books and is an excellent resource and general source of inspiration for natural birth aspirants. She is a midwife. Alot of doctors might discourage you, or give lip service to the idea of VBAC, but not real support - it will be important to find the right provider.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Yes it is possible! I would recommend joining ICAN to start:


I would go on but you should find everything you need through them. Have you read any books on cesareans or obtained your medical records? Anything by Nancy Wainer Cohen or recommended by her is good. I would also try to obtain midwifery care as VBAC success rates are much higher for those with a midwife vs. an OB.

This is a great FAQ on VBAC after 2 or more cesareans, followed the link from ICAN

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

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