tips for a successful VBAC

My first baby was born via c-section and I remember thinking right after he was born how much I wanted to have a VBAC with my next baby!

If you are dying for a vaginal birth after your c-section (VBAC) read on! Remember to talk to your provider about any of these recommendations, as some pregnancies are higher risk and have to be followed more closely.

A lot of these tips will work for anyone who is looking to have a vaginal birth!

tips for a successful VBAC

All VBACs are Not Made Equally.

Talk to your provider about stats on having a successful vaginal delivery this time around.

It depends on why you had a c-section, to begin with, whether your VBAC will be successful. For example, if you had a c-section because your baby was breech, it’s more likely that you will be able to have a VBAC since you don’t know if you have trouble dilating or if your pelvis is too narrow.

If you had a c-section for “failure to progress” (I don’t like that term, but it basically means that your cervix didn’t dilate enough), you are more likely to need a repeat c-section and some providers might recommend that you don’t even try to VBAC.

You can calculate the likelihood of having a VBAC by clicking this link

Weigh the pros and cons of trying for a vaginal birth with your provider before coming to a decision!

tips for a successful VBAC

Stay at Home as Long as Possible

When you do go into labour, try to stay at home as long as you can. Don’t forget, the hospital is a business, once you are admitted, they want you to deliver your baby as fast as possible. This means they might be less patient with you and be more stressed if your labour is taking a long time.

Now, as I’ve said before, please review with your provider ahead of time. They may want you to come into the hospital as soon as labour starts because you have a scar on your uterus and you have a higher risk of uterine rupture.

Try different things to cope with the pain at home like using your shower or bath. Take nice naps when you get a break in contractions. Get into a rhythm that helps you cope with the pain and stick with the rhythm as long as it works!

Go into the hospital once you absolutely cannot handle the pain of the contractions anymore! That way you will be in super-duper active labour when you get there and you’ll avoid the “cascade of interventions”.

More from Babytalk: The Best Way to Cope With Contractions During Labour

free birth affirmations

Avoid an Epidural for as Long as Possible

Once you have an epidural you’ll be confined to the bed and won’t be able to use gravity to help get baby into an optimal position.

Getting your baby into an optimal position is key when it comes to progress in labour. When your baby is in a good position, everything works properly and your cervix will dilate faster and your baby will be born faster!

If you do end up getting an epidural early on (some places will ask you to get one early so that you’re prepared for a c-section if it has to happen fast), make sure that you’re still changing positions in bed as much as you can. You should be moving every 20-30 minutes. Remind your nurse if that’s not happening!

You can move side to side, hands and knees, upright in the bed, etc. Get creative and try all the different positions! Let gravity help you out. You’ve got this mama!

Learn more about how to have a natural birth from Babytalk: Natural Birth. Have The Medication Free Birth You Want!

Labour in Different Positions

Listen to your body! You will feel what is right for your body and your baby and this will help to bring your baby down in the optimal position!

Try the birthing ball in the shower! It’s a great way to relieve pain AND to use gravity to bring the baby down.

You can walk around if that feels good. Or try getting on the floor (or bed) and get into hands and knees position.

Let your belly hang down and have your partner or doula massage your back. Do whatever works and try to stick with that as long as you can. You’d be surprised how much you can speed up your labour just by using the right positions for your body and your baby.

Ask for a peanut ball! They are amazing tools to help get your body into a good position to open your pelvis. Read more about peanut balls right here: The Peanut Ball. A Miracle Tool That Will Shorten Your Labour.

Listen to your instincts, they are telling you these things for a reason.

Push in Different Positions

Yay, you’re fully dilated and it’s time to push! A lot of hospitals will automatically have you push in the lithotomy position. This is when you are lying flat on your back with your knees bent and pelvis open. This is a great position for us nurses and doctors to see the progress of pushing, but it’s not always the most comfortable for you.

Also, lithotomy isn’t always the best way to get the baby out! Try pushing on all four (hands and knees), upright or in a squat. Again, it’s most important for you to listen to your body! Your body will tell you what’s right.

Even with an epidural, you’ll feel the sensation to push and most often women are able to move quite freely with the assistance of their nurses and/or partner.

Bonus Tip: Hire a Doula

A doula will help you navigate the crazy world of birth. She will be able to help you into all those different positions and advocate for you when discussions happen that you might not be able to partake in. She will give you massages and help you feel calm and relaxed.

It’s great to have someone you know and trust by your side and I think everyone should have this option, but definitely, women who want to VBAC. When you feel more comfortable and at ease, your birth hormones will flow much better and make it more likely for you to succeed at having a vaginal birth!

More abour doulas from Babytalk: Top Ten Questions to Ask Your Doula

You just need that extra little bit of support. It’s not talked about very openly, but birth providers in the hospital tend to have a lot of fear around VBACs and tend to have less “tolerance” than with other women having a vaginal birth. They will be quicker to decide on a c-section, even when it isn’t warranted due to the small increase risk of uterine rupture. Granted, we want to avoid uterine rupture at all costs, but there are risks to c-sections as well, so we have to weigh the pros and the cons and all times!

You are Still Awesome MAMA!

In the end, try not to be too disappointed if you end up having another c-section. You tried so hard to avoid it but some things are just out of our control. Don’t put the blame solely on yourself. Some places aren’t as equipped to help you have a VBAC and that’s totally out of your control. You’re still an amazing mama!!

I really wanted to VBAC with my second baby, but ended up having placenta previa. It really was out of my control and I needed to have my second via c-section as well. 🙁

I wish you all the best with your VBAC mama. I really hope things turn out the way you want them too. Love ya!


Did you know I have an educational account on Instagram? I’m @babytalk.birthnurse on there, head on over and give me a follow! I do lots of Q&A’s on my stories and just love to rant about all things birth and babies!

I recently released my first eBook. It’s all about preparing for breastfeeding during pregnancy. Head on over to my SHOP page and snag your copy! Use the code IMGONNAVBAC for 10% off. You can get the ebook or audiobook. Your choice!

prepare for breastfeeding during pregnancy

About the Author

Hanna is passionate nurse and mama of four babies. Parenthood can be hard, but you don't have to do it alone. Hanna is here for you from pregnancy, to birth and beyond!

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Birth Planning with Babytalk.

Plan your birth and learn everything you need to know, one-on-one with an experienced Registered Nurse.