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Finally, Better Guidelines for Vaginal Births Following a Cesarean

Written by Amie Newman for RHRealityCheck.org - News, commentary and community for reproductive health and justice. Good news from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), on VBACs (Vaginal Birth After Cesearean). New guidelines were released by the organization yesterday marking a significant change in their recommendations regarding VBACs:
"Attempting a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) is a safe and appropriate choice for most women who have had a prior cesarean delivery, including for some women who have had two previous cesareans," note the guidelines released today by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
VBACs have been treated controversially over the years by hospitals and organizations like ACOG, with guidelines and hospital policies designed to bar women from choosing a "trial of labor" for a birth, even after they've had one or more prior c-sections. The thought process behind these bans seemed to be most often connected to the fear, by hospital administrators and doctors, of uterine rupture and other complications. Unfortunately, the fear is more perception and suggestion than rooted in fact. The risk of uterine rupture, according to ACOG themselves, is extremely low, occurring in one-half of one percent of all cases (though serious, requiring emergency surgery). It is unquestionably a serious risk to take into consideration when planning for the type of birth one wants to have - but it has been "over-emphasized" by ACOG, according to Lamaze, International, making it more difficult for women to authentically assess the risks vs. complications of a VBAC. Cesarean sections are major surgery though and come with risk and potential complications as well. In addition, the c-section rate in the United States has climbed to dangerous levels, according to the World Health Organization, with one out of every three women birthing via cesarean section. Just last year Joy Szabo of Page, Arizona was toldshe'd essentially be forced into have a c-section because her local hospital refused to allow VBACs. She decided, instead, to drive the 350 miles into Phoenix to a hospital that "allowed" her to birth vaginally. Read more
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