VBAC (Vaginal birth after C section)
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Alison Ross
Registered Midwife, DipHe, BSc (Hons) Was a midwife at Kingston Hospital and Specialist Midwife in Perinatal Mental Health.
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Birth and labour

What is a high-risk birth?

A birth can be considered high risk for a variety of medical reasons. These can include high risk to either or both the mum and baby.
In Short

High risk births include:

Woman who have had recurrent miscarriage.

Small for dates baby (inter-uterine growth retardation).

Women are carrying more than one baby.

Older Mum – over 35 (higher chance but not necessarily).

Mums who smoke, drink heavily or take illegal drugs.

Babies in a breech or transverse position.

Vaginal birth after caesarean.

Women with gestational diabetes or type 1 diabetes.

A history of preterm labour.

Women with chronic or pregnancy-induced hypertension.

Women with Pre-eclampsia/ Eclampsia.

How are high-risk births managed?

In a high-risk birth, you will be kept on the delivery ward and monitored carefully with continuous electronic fetal monitoring (EFM). Two belts are placed around your bump. One measures your contractions and the other one monitors and records the baby’s heart rate.

If your baby is in distress this will show up on the monitor and may mean that you need an assisted birth or even a caesarean. It is not always easy to interpret EFM readings, so your birth team might err on the side of caution and intervene as soon as they see any signs of distress in your baby or you.

It can be hard to labour comfortably and effectively with EFM so you might discuss intermittent testing or ask whether you can sit on a gym ball while the monitors are attached. If your waters have broken the midwife may attach small clip monitor to baby’s head instead.

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This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. Essential Parent has used all reasonable care in compiling the information from leading experts and institutions but makes no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details click here.