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Trial of Labor After Cesarean Delivery

If you and your NYU Langone obstetrician decide that you’re a good candidate for a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC), your labor is allowed to progress naturally. This is called a trial of labor after cesarean delivery.

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Your obstetrician asks you to contact the office when you’re experiencing regular contractions—which last for about a minute and occur every five minutes for about an hour—or your “water,” which is the fluid-filled amniotic sac that surrounds your baby, breaks. The doctor may tell you to go to the hospital at this point.

If you experience these symptoms anytime before 37 weeks of pregnancy, contact your doctor immediately. This may be a sign of preterm labor.

At the hospital, your doctor performs fetal monitoring to ensure that VBAC is the safest option for you and your baby, and may use labor-inducing medications if necessary.

Fetal Heart Monitoring

A sensor placed on your stomach during labor allows your doctor and nurses to monitor your baby’s heart rate. A drop or rise can indicate that the baby is in distress, in which case your doctor may recommend stopping the planned vaginal birth and proceeding with a cesarean delivery. 

Fetal heart monitoring can also help detect uterine rupture, in which a weakened part of the uterus tears, often at the site of the previous cesarean delivery incision. Signs include a sudden and progressive drop in the baby’s heart rate plus maternal bleeding, diffuse pain, and tenderness.

If there are no complications during labor, your baby can be delivered vaginally.


If your labor stalls, you may need medication to ensure that the contractions continue and labor progresses. This can increase the risk of uterine rupture. 

At NYU Langone, our obstetricians are experts in administering and monitoring labor-inducing medications during VBAC. 

Our Research and Education in Vaginal Birth After Cesarean

Learn more about our research and professional education opportunities.