Health Encyclopedia > Health Topics

VBAC: Participation During Birth

Topic Overview

You and your birth partner can participate more fully in a vaginal birth than you can in a cesarean delivery.

During a cesarean delivery, the mother receives either a regional anesthetic or a general anesthetic and cannot fully participate in her baby's birth.

  • Some mothers feel very strongly about being able to bond with the baby immediately after birth. Unless there is some complication, a mother can usually hold her baby within the first few minutes after a vaginal birth. After a cesarean, the mother's time with her baby may be briefly delayed as her surgery is completed. This delay can be extended if she remains in the recovery room for a time afterward.
  • When a general anesthetic is used, usually during an emergency cesarean, the mother is unconscious through her baby's birth.
  • If regional anesthetic is used during a cesarean, the mother remains awake but may not be as actively involved in the birth as during a natural birth or a birth without using medicines. If sedatives are given, she may be groggy, fall asleep, or not remember much about the birth.

Whether you plan a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) or a repeat cesarean delivery, discuss anesthesia options with your doctor before your delivery.

If you have a routine cesarean delivery, your birth partner can hold the baby while your medical needs are taken care of.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Femi Olatunbosun, MB, FRCSC - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Last Revised March 29, 2013

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

© 1995-2013 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.

USNWR 2013-2014Magnet Hospital RecognitionConsumer Choice2014 Best DoctorsJoint Commission Report

Disclaimer: The information on this website is for general informational purposes only and SHOULD NOT be relied upon as a substitute for sound professional medical advice, evaluation or care from your physician or other qualified health care provider.