Nishmat's Women’s Health and HalachaIn memory of Chaya Mirel bat R' Avraham

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Halachic considerations and VBAC

29 April, 2012

Question:

Hello,

I am 27 weeks pregnant, and have been thinking about VBAC.

My daughter was born via emergency cesarean due to heartrate decelerations, after I was induced with pitocin and had an epidural.

My doctor told me that based upon reading my operative report, he thinks I have a 60–65% chance of being able to deliver naturally, but that we would revisit it at the end of my pregnancy based upon the size of the baby. I am curious if there are halachic considerations in scheduling a c–section versus trying for a VBAC, understanding that surgery is risky, but that VBACs come with inherent risks, as well.

Thank you for your advice.


Answer:

Besha'ah tovah!

All things being equal, there is a halachic preference to allow childbirth to progress naturally.  But medical safety is an important factor in halacha, allowing for interventions when they are deemed medically advisable.  Another consideration in weighing trying for a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) is the possibility of being forced to have multiple cesareans should you seek to have more children.  You may wish to pursue more than one medical opinion on this matter.  (There is a preference for pursuing a medical opinion from a qualified religious Jewish physician when possible.)


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