Can I Have a VBAC if I am Obese?

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For women who have previously undergone a cesarean section (C-section) and are now expecting another child, one of the most common questions is whether or not they are eligible to try for a VBAC — or vaginal birth after cesarean. At Essential Women’s Health Associates, proudly serving Las Vegas and Henderson, NV, OBGYN Dr. Samantha Schoenhaus and our caring team understand the desire to deliver your child vaginally and are here to help ensure your delivery is as safe and successful as possible. Among the many considerations when determining eligibility for VBAC delivery is the patient’s overall health, which may include their weight and BMI. Here, you’ll find helpful information on the basics of VBAC surgery as well as answers to common VBAC FAQs, including how — and why — your weight may play a role in qualifying for a VBAC attempt.

What is a VBAC?

VBAC refers to the option for women who have undergone a previous cesarean section to attempt a vaginal delivery with their subsequent pregnancies. It is a safe and viable choice for many women, but various factors need to be considered, including the mother's health and medical history.

Why should I consider a VBAC?

Choosing to attempt a VBAC should be discussed with your OBGYN and other members of your care team to ensure it is a safe and appropriate option for you and your baby. While each case will vary, there are a number of potential benefits of VBAC delivery over a second or subsequent C-section, including:

  • Shorter recovery period
  • Fewer delivery risks
  • Less blood loss
  • No incisions or scarring
  • Patients may avoid anesthesia
  • Aligns with some women’s personal preferences and birth plan

Does being overweight disqualify you from VBAC delivery?

If you are interested in trying for a VBAC, Dr. Schoenhaus will thoroughly review your health and medical status (and history), take into consideration any complications or risk factors of your previous and current pregnancies, and discuss your goals, motivations, and concerns at length. For women who are overweight, have a high BMI, or are obese, we may recommend a repeat C-section vs. VBAC, as obesity is often associated with a lower VBAC success rate and increased risks during emergency interventions. Additional factors that may lower a woman’s chances of successful VBAC delivery include being over 40 years of age, having a high vertical uterine incision from previous surgery, or having a history of uterine fibroids or uterine rupture.

Again, Dr. Schoenhaus understands and shares in the desire for each woman to experience her ideal delivery and balances those wishes with what is necessary for the health and safety of the mother and baby. Throughout the course of your pregnancy, Dr. Schoenhaus will carefully monitor you to determine whether you may ultimately qualify for a trial of VBAC. Generally speaking, women who are under 40, have no history of current or previous gynecologic or obstetric complications, and are at a healthy, appropriate weight for their pregnancy are considered the most suitable candidates for VBAC.

Considering VBAC in Las Vegas, NV? Our caring team is here to help

Because every pregnancy, woman, and developing baby are unique, it is critical to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced provider to determine whether a VBAC may be safe and appropriate for you and your child. For more information about improving your chances of qualifying for VBAC delivery in Henderson or Las Vegas, NV, call Essential Women’s Health Associates to schedule an appointment with OBGYN Dr. Samantha Schoenhaus today.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.