News and Information

November 1, 2011

Vaginal Birth After C-Section Now An Option At St. Joseph Medical Center

St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma, which has one of the busiest birth centers in the state, has added vaginal birth after cesarean (C-section) as a delivery option for women whose health and medical history make them good candidates for this procedure.

"Women have not always had the option for vaginal delivery after a C-section," said Debbie Raniero, RN, manager of the Franciscan Health System birth center. "Thanks to advancements in technology and surgical techniques, women may now have a vaginal birth experience even if they have delivered by the cesarean in the past."

Benefits to vaginal birth after cesarean, also called VBAC, include:

  • There is less risk for infection with a successful VBAC than with a repeat C-section.
  • Women typically need shorter hospital stays after a successful VBAC procedure compared to a repeat C-section.
  • Women who deliver by VBAC often experience less pain and discomfort after birth, and their energy returns to normal levels more quickly.
  • The mother is often able to hold and breastfeed her newborn sooner after a VBAC delivery compared to a repeat C-section.

"The experience of pregnancy and birth is very personal," Raniero said. "Not every woman wants a VBAC. But for women who prefer vaginal birth after C-section, and whose health and medical history make them good candidates for the procedure, this option can enrich their experience of bringing a new life into the world."

Ninety percent of American women who have undergone cesarean deliveries are candidates for VBAC, according to the American Pregnancy Association. About one-third of all births today in the U.S. are cesareans, according to published reports.

A total of 3,610 babies were born at St. Joseph Medical Center from July 2010 through June 2011, making it the sixth-busiest birth center in Washington State. The hospital also offers some of the most sought-after birthing choices and amenities available anywhere, including in-water delivery, midwifery care, private postpartum settings and a special care nursery, all supported by the region’s most skilled obstetricians and nurses. A board-certified physician specializing in obstetrics in is the hospital 24 hours day, and available immediately as needed.

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