You’ve had a cesarean. Join the crowd! In the United States, 1 in 3 women will give birth this way. (Myself included!) Nearly 33% of all births assisted by surgery. And it can be a very important, life-saving procedure for women and babies.
Now you’re pregnant again. And, for some reason, you don’t want another cesarean. Maybe the recovery was really hard. Maybe breastfeeding didn’t go the way you’d hoped. Maybe it was a traumatic event you’d rather avoid this time. Maybe you’ve been doing some research, reading some books and talking to other moms. No matter the reason; this time, you’re planning a Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC).
So, you’re taking the really in-depth childbirth class to learn about birth (not just how to be a patient in a hospital). You’re interviewing doulas (whoo hoo!) because you’ve seen the stat that the support of a doula can hugely lower your chance of having another cesarean! And you’re reading all the VBAC information you can get your hands on so you KNOW you can do this pushing-a-baby-out-of-your-vagina thing.
The. Most. Important. Thing you can do to prepare for a VBAC is find a SUPPORTIVE provider.
Oh, I can hear you now: “My doctor says he’ll let me try for a VBAC.” “He said he does VBACs all the time.” “She’s really nice.” “I’ve been seeing her forever.” “This is the doctor my friend/sister/co-worker had and she loved him.” “She did a great job stitching me up last time.”
Can I just say, REALLY? How important are those things? I know comfort and “permission” to use your own body to birth your baby are helpful…
Here’s what you SHOULD be saying about your provider if he/she actually supports, believes in and facilitates VBACs: “He has the lowest cesarean rate in the hospital/city/state.” “She said we’ll just wait for my body to go into labor on its own.” “He said he doesn’t do standard ultrasounds at 38 weeks.” “I can eat and drink during labor.” “She has one of the best VBAC rates (numbers and percentages) in the city!” “He has breech training and won’t let a breech baby hinder my VBAC labor.” “She went over the risks of both a VBAC and a repeat cesarean with me at my first appointment.” “He let ME choose which birth is best for me – without using fear to sway my choice.” “She actually said that a VBAC is just a normal labor. What a relief.”
What phrases do you hear yourself saying as you talk about YOUR provider? Are you “hoping” he/she will “let” you have a VBAC? Or are you confident that they believe in this option as much as you do?
Don’t leave this portion of your birth to chance. It’s worth asking the hard questions and switching providers if necessary. As long as your baby is “on the inside,” it’s never too late to find someone who believes in your ability to VBAC as much as you do – and as much as I do! You’ve got this mama – just make sure your provider knows that too.
Find your local ICAN chapter here.