10 VBAC Success Tips
If you have never tried to have a vaginal birth after a cesarean (VBAC), you might not understand how hard it is to find support here in Nashville. It can be mentally and emotionally exhausting! We are here to say don't give up! We believe that you can have a great vaginally birth if you will follow our 10 tips.
1. Educate yourself by reading good VBAC books and websites. Usually we try to send people to a free support group called ICAN. There are chapters all over the US and even one locally in Nashville. Go to their website to see all the great people and resources there for you.
2. Take a great, in depth childbirth class. We have some great options in Nashville from Evidence Based Birth classes to private in home classes provided by most doulas. These classes can help you feel more confident and prepared for birth.
3. Hire an excellent care provider that you have made sure will support your birth plan. Ask other local VBAC moms to see who they used and why they liked them. When you visit your care provider see if they are a good listener, advocate for vaginal birth/VBAC , are accepting and encouraging of doulas and midwives, and follow evidence based practices. Make sure their back up care providers have the same or similar philosophy. Don’t be afraid to ask for your provider’s statistics! High rate of VBACs/lower rate of cesareans would be a good indicator that you have made a good choice.
4. Be willing to switch care providers if necessary. Trust your gut on this one. It honestly does not get better as pregnancy progresses. If you have warning flags about your provider or hospital, switch now! Care providers don't really want to take you on as a patient once you are past 35 weeks.
5. Don’t forget to use your BRAIN! Before agreeing to any procedure/recommendation, ask about: 1. Benefits 2. Risks 3. Alternatives 4. Intuition (what does your gut tell you?) 5. Nothing (what if you do nothing now or what if you do nothing ever?)
6. Plan for an unmedicated birth. More interventions often lead to more medical births. By limiting induction, pitocin, epidurals, etc., you increase your chances of a vaginal birth. But have a plan for if any of those things are medically necessary—you can still have a VBAC if you need some intervention!
7. Hire a doula. You might wonder how they can help. Well, doulas ease fears during pregnancy and birth, prepare for a vaginal birth, help you know your options, provide information, navigate any confusion when signs of labor start, provide a continuous calm and steady presence through the ups and downs of birth, support you with position changes and comfort measures, support your partner, and the list goes on an on!
8. Labor at home as long as possible. While at home you can be at ease and labor how you want to without worrying about hospital policies. This will allow your labor to progress uninterrupted in a place of safety and comfort. Sometimes going to the hospital can increase a VBAC mom's stress and slow her labor down, so we suggest staying at home for the majority of your labor.
9. Prepare for a Cesarean without expecting one. Have the possibility in the back of you mind just as you would prepare for a possible cloud burst while you are out shopping. You think though what you will do without feeling powerless. You can have a vaginal birth!
10. Work through any birth fears and anxieties. Remember: Head, Heart, Lady Parts! You have to have your head and your heart in a good place in order to set your body up to labor and birth.
We hope to hear many successful VBAC stories and if you end up in another c-section, we hope and pray that you felt empowered on the journey. Please visit our webpage on VBAC tips to download a pdf of this article to remind you of these great ideas.
*These 10 tips were created by Jessica who has doulaed many clients to have a successful VBAC.