So you would like to have a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Caesarean) or even a VBA2C (Vaginal Birth After 2 Caesareans)... or any number of previous c-sections?
How are you going to achieve this? What do you need to do to give your body and baby the best opportunity to achieve it?
Studies have shown that a VBAC, especially after a lower uterine caesarean section (incision made horizontally above the pubic bone) and without complications with this pregnancy is a safer choice for women than a repeat section.
To prepare your mind and body for a VBAC there are some things that you should consider.
Place Of Birth
Statistics prove that some places of birth have a lower c-section rate than others.
For Example, John James Private has a c-section rate of 43.6% (taken from a 2008 report) while The Canberra Hospital (TCH) has a rate of 23.9% and Queanbeyan 17.8%.
Of course places like a birth centre, a public homebirth program or even a private midwife typically have low transfer rates to hospitals for c-sections
Choice Of Your Birth Team
In the same way that you need to choose carefully your place of birth, your choice of who is on your birth team is also an important one. I personally would say that this is one of the most important factors to how you end up birthing. Surround yourself with people that truly believe in the natural birthing process, that maybe your doula, friends and even join some positive birthing groups on social media.
Studies that proven that under midwifery-led care, a woman is less likely to have interventions, including induction, instrumental deliveries (Vacuum or forceps) and c-section. If you have chosen a private OB, ask questions about his c-section rate, his VBAC success rate, induction rate and what interventions is used & when for VBAC’s. If your caregiver starts making statements along the lines of:-
- “If you haven’t had your baby by 40 weeks we will schedule a c-section”
- “If you haven’t had your baby by 41 weeks we will induce you”
- “If your labour is not progressing, then we will take you down for a c-section”
- “You will need to have continuous fetal monitoring during labour”
- “Once fully dilated you can only ‘push’ for 10-20minutes”
- Suggests having an epidural ‘just in case’ we need to take you to theatre
- Or one I often hear “They want me to come into hospital as soon as labour has begun”
- No Doulas allowed
Any of these are signs that your caregiver is not 110% supportive of you achieving a VBAC and you might want to consider changing providers. I have had a client change from private OB to private midwife at 38 weeks. She birthed her baby vaginally under the watchful eye of her midwife at 42+2 weeks.
Hire A Doula
No, I am not just saying that because I am one but the studies have consistently shown that hiring a doula reduces the chances of a woman having a c-section by 50%. These studies have also shown that a doula’s support is more effective than the hospital staff or even the mother’s partner alone or friends or family. When I look at my own statistics of women that I have supported only 5% of clients birthed via a c-section and 100% of clients who wanted a VBAC, did it successfully.
Educate Yourself And Your Partner About Normal Birth
Many clients often say during our appointments, “I didn’t know that” or “I didn’t know I had a choice.”
It is really important that you have a good understanding of labour and birth, including the pros and cons of the interventions available, non-medical options for pain relief, different types of support and most importantly what birth as nature intended looks like and how the different systems within the body work together beautifully when left alone to do it.
One thing to remember here is not to suffer information overload. Choose a book that really understands birth. Two of my most borrowed books are Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering by Dr Sarah Buckley and Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin.
Seek An Independent Childbirth Educator
Why? Because independent educators are REALLY passionate about what they do.
They also don’t have hospital policy to adhere to, so can give you both sides of the story. They also rely on teaching classes as an income, so want to make sure that you finish the course feeling confident about your upcoming birth.
If there aren’t any private educators in your area, ask your doula if she does them for clients.
Work On Your Mind/Body Connection
The mind is an extremely powerful thing and the body follows whatever the mind tells it to do, a bit like a robot does what it is programmer has told it to do. When you work on the mind/body connection, you are able to fully surrender to the birth process. This is just one reason why I teach HypnoBirthing® – The Mongan Method, as introduces you to the mind/body connection. The other reason is that it is evidenced based.
I wish you a calm, stress-free and empowered birth, however you end up birthing.
Read more articles and stories by going to our articles page.