VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean) is one of the birth world hot topic it seems. Despite ongoing research supporting VBAC, ACOGs strong stance in support of VBAC & VBAC accessibility, the World Health Organization's goals to reduce cesareans, and the ever climbing Maternal Mortality rate in the United States, some obstetricians are STILL telling their patients that VBAC is not an option. "Once a cesarean, always a cesarean" is the lie that has negatively impacted hundreds of thousands of women and babies, or more, over the last century. I could get into all the nitty gritty about VBAC, cesareans, the politics and science at play, but if you're here, I'm going to assume you're already aware of why a VBAC is safer than a repeat cesarean, and looking for tips on HOW to achieve your #birthgoals. If you want to learn more about VBAC science, go here.
NOW LET'S TALK ABOUT ACHIEVING THE BIRTH OF YOUR DREAMS
4 TIPS FOR ACHIEVING YOUR VAGINAL BIRTH AFTER CESAREAN
1. Find a VBAC Supportive provider
The sad reality is that not all obstetricians, or even midwives, are truly supportive of VBAC. Some are what we call "VBAC tolerant" as opposed to supportive. Some aren't even tolerant! A VBAC tolerant doctor will have policies in place that are for their convenience or "Legal CYA", but not evidence based. A VBAC supportive provider will have policies that are evidence based, supported by major health organizations, research, and ultimately, you. They will give their professional opinions, but default to you and respect your wishes, limits, etc. You will work TOGETHER, as a team, and there will be no need to fight for your birth experience. Here are 7 questions you can ask your provider to determine how truly supportive they are of your birth goals.
2. Encourage Spontaneous Labor
Labor induction IS possible for medically indicated situations when you're a VBAC Mama, but it does come with a slightly increased risk of uterine rupture, that said, you're still around 98% likely NOT to have a uterine rupture if induction is done safely and appropriately. You can learn my tips for avoiding pitocin here!
3. Reduce Unnecessary Interventions
Am I saying if you want a VBAC you can't get an epidural? No. Certainly not. I had an epidural with my first VBAC. But I do encourage you to labor without as long as possible so you can use upright positions to encourage physiological birth. I encourage minimizing the "just because" use of interventions that have any unnecessary risk. Using interventions for convenience sake over medical necessity is where things get sticky.
4. Maintain a healthy pregnancy
Again, this is not to say if you are diagnosed with something like Gestational Diabetes you are no incapable of having a healthy pregnancy or safe VBAC. However, would you spend 9 months training for a marathon by sitting on the couch eating cake and cookies all day? Probably not. You'd nourish your body with healthy foods, vitamins, well rounded meals, and you'd exercise regularly. Labor is a marathon. And you need a strong body. Take care of yourself.
Go ahead and submit your VBAC questions to me in the comments so that I can answer them thoughout my VBAC series!
Disclaimer: The content of this article is intended for informational and educational purposes only and is not meant to substitute for individual medical advice. Please direct any personal healthcare questions and decision making to your personal healthcare provider.
Jaimie Zaki, owner of Little Bear Services, LLC is a Birth Photographer, Labor Doula, & IBCLC serving families in South Jersey and Central New Jersey. Mother of three, military wife, and lover of coffee, Jaimie enthusiastically supports hospital and home births in Burlington County, Camden County, Mercer County, Atlantic County, Ocean County in New Jersey. If you reside outside of this service area, there are online courses and virtual support packages available! Jaimie is excited to serve your family! Learn more about Jaimie and the services she offers!
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