Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC)

If you’ve already had a cesarean birth, you may be able to deliver your next baby vaginally. At New Beginnings Birth Center, we offer women the choice to have a vaginal birth after cesarean, commonly referred to as a VBAC. At Brookings Health System, 88% of our mothers who attempt a trial of labor after cesarean successfully give birth vaginally.

Watch & Learn

Jess Weiss explains how a VBAC procedure helped her recover faster with the birth of her second child.

Medical Excellence

Brookings Health's OB department performs above the state and national averages on key performance indicators for obstetrical care, including those related to vaginal birth after c-section. 

 Brookings Health SystemSouth Dakota AverageNational Average
Percentage of mothers who delivered baby by c-section (lower percentages are better)15% (2023)24.7% (2020)32.1% (2021)

Note: the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that a reasonable C-section rate should be no greater than 10-15% of all deliveries. 


 Brookings Health SystemNational Average
Percentage of mothers who attempted labor after a cesarean birth (higher percentages are better)50% (2023)13.3% (2018)


 Brookings Health SystemNational Average
Percentage of mothers who attempt TOLAC and successfully deliver a newborn vaginally after having a previous c-section (higher percentages are better)79% (2023)60 - 80% (2021)


Am I a good candidate for a vaginal birth after cesarean?

Talk to your OBGYN about your likelihood of having a successful VBAC. Your chance for a successful VBAC is better if:

  • You have given birth vaginally before.
  • You only had one previous c-section with a low transverse (horizontal) incision.
  • Both you and your baby are in good health throughout pregnancy.
  • Your labor starts on its own just before or on your due date.

VBAC Benefits

Many women who delivered their first child by c-section may want to experience giving birth naturally through the birth canal. Having a successful vaginal birth after c-section has several additional benefits for mothers, including:

  • Shorter recovery time.
  • No abdominal surgery.
  • Less blood loss.
  • Lower risk for infection and other complications.
  • Less risk of complications from repeated surgeries, including scarring or injury to the bowel or bladder.

Babies also benefit from vaginal deliveries. It helps to clear their lungs as they pass through the birth canal, better preparing them to breath oxygen after birth. In addition, babies pick up good bacteria as they travel through birth canal, boosting their immune systems.

VBAC Risks

Even if you and your baby are healthy throughout your pregnancy, a VBAC does have some risks. If you fail a trial of labor, these may include:

  • A repeat c-section surgery.
  • Infection, injury and blood loss.
  • Uterine rupture (tearing). This is rare and happens in less than 1% of women who attempt VBAC.

Interested in having a vaginal birth after a c-section? Discuss your options early in your pregnancy with your obstetrician.