C-section vs VBAC

You can read my cesearean birth story with Cora here, and my VBAC with Ida here. This is just my own personal experiences and you should still consult a doctor for the best decision for your own personal health.

Now that I've experienced both a cesarean and a vaginal birth, I get asked a lot which one I liked better. They were both enjoyable in their own way (welp, as enjoyable as the act of birth can be), but they both had their own pros and cons. Every body and birth is different, but here is my experience:


My cesarean had no complications and was overall pretty great.  It was fairly quick and I got to do skin-to-skin with the baby while they were closing me up.  I had no contractions and the whole ordeal was over in less than an hour.... and that is pretty much where the positives ended for me. I got extremely sick from all of the medicine coursing through my body, so I spent most of my time in the recovery room throwing up. It hurt to laugh and I had to depend on other people to do nearly everything for me.  I wasn't able to drive for 2 weeks and was in pain for months. When I returned to work at 4 weeks post partum, I was barely even able to make it through a full day due to pain.  My incision finally stopped being sensitive and tingling when I was about 1 year post partum. It has been 5 years and I still get an uncomfortable sensation in the incision in some circumstances, like when I lean up against something near the scar (which is about the same height as most bathroom vanities).


I went into my VBAC, with low risk and high determination. My water broke and I had to get pitocin to speed up my labor. After a couple hours, I got an epidural and overall the birth was relatively painless. It was fairly fast and my entire labor (from water break to birth) was about 20 hours. Personally, I preferred the vaginal birth over the cesarian.  I felt more present at both the birth and the following recovery period.

The biggest pro for vaginal birth was definitely my recovery.  I was out of the hospital after the mandatory 24 hours. While my privates hurt (why wouldn't they?!) I was feeling much better after about 2 weeks. I was able to help do school drop off and pickups within a week. A month after birth, I was able to go on a weekend vacation that required a lot of walking, then I was able to help move a bunch of boxes a couple days later when we moved to our new house.


Find a doctor/hospital that supports vbacs - Be very clear up front about trying for a vbac. The first appointment I had during my second pregnancy, I spoke with the doctor and let them know I wanted to attempt a vbac. Since I see many doctors within the same practice, I followed up about their practice policy and made sure a VBAC was something they would support. My doctor looked at my reason for a csection, calculated my vbac chances, and let me know it was a very real possibility.

Educate yourself - I spent a lot of time reading and educating myself on different procedures, complications, etc. and made sure I felt comfortable advocating for myself if necessary. We also had a lot of long discussions as a couple about my reasoning for specific decisions so they Ben felt comfortable advocating for me if necessary. Csections are easier for doctors and staff and the only person that can best advocate for you is you.

Assess your risk factors and do what you can to lessen them - My biggest risk factor was my weight. I hadn't lost any weight since my first pregnancy, so I did my best to not gain much during my second pregnancy. I gained about 11 pounds (and half of that was baby) so the doctors felt pretty comfortable that I could have a successful VBAC

Squats.... lots and lots of squats - the last couple months of my pregnancy, I would do about 20 squats every time I went to the bathroom throughout the day... which is a lot. Linking my 'workout' to something I always do (bathroom) ensured it would happen and did a great job splitting it out through the day. Squats are great to prepare you're body for labor and splitting it up this way made the effort pretty minimal.

Visualization - I spent a lot of time from day 1 visualizing myself during birth and having a successful vaginal birth... and also set my mind to baby's birthdate being the 15th. Picturing this end goal was helpful for me, but I also spent sometime 'coming to terms' with the thought of having a c-section. At the end of the day, a healthy baby was our goal and I had to be okay if a c-section happened again.


Mayo Clinic - Mayo clinic has a great breakdown of what a VBAC is, why you would chose one, risk factors, etc

ICAN - International Cesarean Awareness Network has a lot of great resources and information. They also have local chapters if that is something you would find helpful. The above graphic is from ICAN and it was one I found helpful to remind myself of my reason to go with a VBAC. I wanted having more babies to be my choice and not one that would be made for me due to my health and risk factors.

BabyCenter VBAC Support group - This VBAC support group was helpful to find other VBAC sources and get encouragement in my goal. I loved seeing VBAC success stories pop up and other posts helped me learn a lot about the different variables.

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