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Case-by-case decisions are crucial, the panel said, because there may be instances where another C-section is better for the baby but not for mom or vice versa.
Who's a good candidate? The panel said that needs further study. But in general, VBAC is for women who've had one prior C-section done with a "transverse" scar, the most common kind today, said panel chairman Dr. F. Gary Cunningham of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. Women should be otherwise low-risk, he said: Not carrying multiples or a large baby, being obese or having high blood pressure or diabetes.
"There's still a lot we don't know about which women will be successful in having a VBAC, but we believe it's essential that women's desires and preferences be respected throughout the decision-making process," Cunningham said.
Don't try to pre-judge candidates, said Dr. Emily Spencer Lukacz of the University of California, San Diego.
"All women who have prior cesarean delivery should talk to their providers about VBAC," so they can decide on a case-by-case basis if it makes sense, Lukacz said.
It can be difficult for women to find a doctor or hospital that offers VBAC, said Debra Bingham of Lamaze International. She points to California, which now lists VBAC availability for every hospital on a Web site: http://www.calhospitalcompare.org/.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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