Ask The Doctor: Can I Have A Natural Childbirth After A C-Section?

by Dr Jonathan D'Souza

In our Ask The Doctor series, Z Living’s in-house health and wellness expert, Dr. Jonathan D’Souza answers your questions and shares his tips for making the rest of your life the best of your life.

Q: Can I have a natural childbirth after a C-section?
A: "Most women are keen on having a natural delivery post their C-section with their first pregnancy. It is estimated that about two-thirds of the women (about 70 percent) who've had C-sections are good candidates for a future natural delivery. However, only your doctor can determine for sure if you're one of them. The decision will be made depending on why you had to opt for a C-section delivery in the previous pregnancy and your health in the current pregnancy.

Uterine rupture (the risk of the C-section incision reopening) is the major risk of natural birth post C-section. Your doctor will consider the following factors when assessing your situation.

There are three types of incision done during a C-section.

  • Low transverse (side-to-side cut made on the lower part of the uterus)
  • Low vertical (up-and-down incision made on the lower part of the uterus)
  • Classical incision (up-and-down incision made on the upper part of the uterus)

A classical incision is more likely to rupture and hence women who have had them are advised to undergo only a C-section. Women who have had a low-transverse C-section are the best candidates for a natural delivery.

If the C-section was due to a factor not directly linked to the delivery, such as the baby's irregular heartbeat, then you might have a better chance at a natural delivery. If the C-section was because your cervix failed to dilate adequately or the baby's head did not descend, your chances of a natural delivery may get a bit lower.

If you're trying to have a natural delivery, speak to your doctor to weigh the risks and benefits. If any problem arises during labor, a C-section can still be performed quickly and safely."

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