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Evidence to Improve Care

Vaginal Birth After Caesarean (VBAC)

Care for People Who Have Had a Caesarean Birth and Are Planning Their Next Birth

Click below to see a list of brief quality statements and scroll down for more information.​​


Quality standards are sets of concise statements designed to help health care professionals easily and quickly know what care to provide, based on the best evidence. ​

See below for the quality statements and click for more detail.​


Quality Statement 1: Access to Vaginal Birth After Caesarean
People who have had a Caesarean birth before can plan a vaginal birth for their next birth, as long as there is no medical reason not to have one.


Quality Statement 2: Discussion After Caesarean Birth
After a Caesarean birth, people have a discussion with their physician or midwife and receive written information about the reasons for their Caesarean birth and their options for future births.


Quality Statement 3: Shared Decision-Making
Pregnant people who have had a previous Caesarean birth participate in shared decision-making with their physician or midwife. The discussion and planned mode of birth is documented in the perinatal record.


Quality Statement 4: Previous Vaginal Birth
Pregnant people who have had both a previous Caesarean birth and a previous vaginal birth are informed that they have a high likelihood of successful vaginal birth if no contraindication is present.


Quality Statement 5: Operative Reports and Incision Type
Physicians and midwives obtain an operative report from any previous Caesarean births whenever possible. Pregnant people who have had a previous Caesarean birth with an unknown type of uterine incision have an individualized assessment by their physician or midwife to determine the likelihood of a low transverse incision.


Quality Statement 6: Timely Access to Caesarean Birth
Pregnant people planning a vaginal birth after Caesarean are aware of the resources available and not available at their planned place of birth, including physician, midwifery, nursing, anesthesiology, and neonatal care, and the ability to provide timely access to Caesarean birth.


Quality Statement 7: Unplanned Labour
Pregnant people planning an elective repeat Caesarean section should have a documented discussion with their physician or midwife about the feasibility of vaginal birth after Caesarean if they go into unplanned labour. This discussion should take place during antenatal care and again if the person arrives at the hospital in labour.


Quality Statement 8: Induction and Augmentation of Labour
Pregnant people who have had a previous Caesarean birth are offered induction and/or oxytocin augmentation of labour when medically indicated, and are informed by their physician or midwife about the potential benefits and harms associated with the method proposed. Discussion about this should begin in the antenatal period.


Quality Statement 9: Signs and Symptoms of Uterine Rupture
During active labour, pregnant people who have had a previous Caesarean birth are closely monitored for signs or symptoms of uterine rupture.


1

Access to Vaginal Birth After Caesarean

People who have had a Caesarean birth before can plan a vaginal birth for their next birth, as long as there is no medical reason not to have one.


Vaginal birth after Caesarean (VBAC) is safe and appropriate for most people who have had a previous Caesarean birth. When no contraindications to VBAC are present, physicians and midwives should counsel pregnant people and their families to make choices that reflect their values, preferences, and priorities. This kind of supportive care requires the availability of health care professionals and facilities that offer and encourage planned VBAC. Local institutional policies, opinion leaders, and audit and feedback are all potentially effective ways of promoting and increasing access to VBAC.

For Pregnant People

You can plan a vaginal birth in this pregnancy, as long as there is no medical reason not to have one.


For Clinicians

Offer VBAC in a supportive manner to all pregnant people who have had a previous Caesarean birth and who have no contraindication to a vaginal birth.


For Health Services

Ensure that health care professionals and facilities have systems, processes, and resources in place to offer and support planned VBAC.

Structural Indicator

Availability of facilities that have policies supportive of VBAC

  • Local data collection

Access

Pregnant people planning a VBAC have access to a physician or midwife who is supportive of VBAC. This may include referral to a more comprehensive service that can offer planned VBAC.

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