Women who have had a Cesarean section can become candidates for vaginal birth in the future, a new set of guidelines issued by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has said.

The guidelines suggest that women should try for labor during a subsequent delivery even if they had undergone a Cesarean section in the previous one.

Dr. Jeffrey Ecker, a maternal-fetal medicine specialist at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston believes that women should voluntarily give labor a try when they are ready for delivery the second time.

In the past, it was felt that women who underwent a Cesarean birth would have to use the same procedure in subsequent deliveries. However, changes in surgical procedures changed this belief though doctors did report some complications in vaginal birth after a Cesarean or VBAC.

Recent studies have indicated that many women can actually go for VBAC and that a Cesarean of the past does not automatically suggest that every subsequent delivery has to follow the same process.

The new guidelines suggest that doctors should counsel women with a previous Cesarean birth that they are candidates for VBAC. Doctors can make a horizontal incision low in the uterus to prove that vaginal delivery will work for them.

It says that between 60 and 80 percent of the women who go for VBAC have had successful deliveries and in many cases the success rates are much higher. The guidelines have been published in the August issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology. It lists out three types of women who can be candidates for VBAC:

  • Women who have had previous Cesarean using low transverse incision
  • Women who have had Cesarean using low transverse incision and are carrying twins
  • Women who have had a Cesarean delivery but do not know of low transverse incision.