VBAC poses potentially serious risks.

Failed attempt at labor

Labor results in a repeat C-section for an estimated 25 percent of women who attempt VBAC, often because the baby doesn't tolerate labor.

Uterine infection

If you must have a repeat C-section after labor has begun, you face a slightly higher risk of C-section complications — such as a uterine infection — than if you had a planned repeat C-section.

Uterine rupture

Rarely, the uterus may tear open along the scar line from a prior C-section.

If your uterus ruptures — either before or during labor — an emergency C-section is needed to prevent life-threatening complications, including blood loss, infection and brain damage for the baby.

When delivery takes place in a hospital equipped to handle such emergencies, rarely is the baby at risk. In some cases, however, the uterus might need to be removed (hysterectomy) to stop the bleeding.

If your uterus is removed, you won't be able to get pregnant again.

Pelvic floor problems

For some women, pelvic floor problems also are a concern.

The weight and pressure of pregnancy can weaken the pelvic floor muscles that support the uterus, and vaginal delivery can stretch the pelvic floor muscles even farther. This can lead to temporary urinary incontinence, particularly for women who give birth vaginally.

Nov. 06, 2012