Wyoming Medical Center has responded to a recent petition involving women who wish to give vaginal birth after having had cesarean surgery in a previous pregnancy.

The Casper hospital is saying that, while they will not force women to undergo an addition cesarean surgery at their facility, they strongly advise women who have had a cesarean to not go through a vaginal birth on another pregnancy.

Chief Medical Officer for WMC, Dr. Carol Solie says that Vaginal Births After Cesarean (or VBAC) can carry risks.

"There's a risk, about 1%, that if a woman labors after having a c-section and has a uterus with a scar in it, that the uterus could rupture," says Dr. Solie.  "When the uterus ruptures, that can have serious, negative consequences for the baby."

A petition was recently posted to the website Change.org asking WMC to update their policies regarding VBAC, siting new guidelines from the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists that says that VBAC is a safe alternative to another cesarean surgery.

However, Dr. Solie says that Wyoming Medical Center doesn't have the current resources to be able to encourage mothers to have a VBAC.

"We don't think it's a safe course of action," says Dr. Solie.  "And that is what we tell patients who request that."

Dr. Solie says that safe practices of vaginal births after the mother has had a previous cesarean, is to have a team standing by and ready to go, to extract the baby from the uterus in moments, should a rupture of the uterus or other problems occur.

"It's nice to be able to offer women an alternative to having another surgery.  Just because of the risk that any surgery entails," Dr. Solie explains.  "But the safest course of action, for the baby, is to have a repeat section, without taking the risk of a ruptured uterus, especially when you don't have the resources to have everybody standing by, ready to go."

Dr. Solie does go on to explain, however, that Wyoming Medical Center cannot force a woman to have cesarean surgery, if the woman wants to go through a VBAC.   But, WMC will advise a woman of the risks involved and have her sign a paper acknowledging that she was informed of those risks.

"If we are not able to dissuade a woman from that course of action, she is going to labor on her own, whether we have an objection to it or not," says Dr. Solie.  "She would have the same care we would provide any other laboring patient.  We would take care of her just like anyone else in labor."

The online petition targeted at WMC, regarding VBACs, was posted several months ago and received 616 supporters.