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Re-posted in entirety from Birthbootcamp.com:
Planning for a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) shouldn’t be that big of deal, but it is. While proven to be incredibly safe, achieving a VBAC can be an uphill battle requiring intense commitment and dedication.
You wouldn’t show up for your wedding without doing a single bit of planning and expect every flower to be in place and all to run smoothly. Similarly, when wanting a VBAC, few women can simply arrive at their birthplace in labor and have a vaginal birth.
Here are our six key steps for planing to rock a VBAC
1. Hire the right care provider-
Whether you birth at home with a midwife, in a birth center, or in a hospital with a medical doctor or CNM, your choice of care provider is one of the most important choices any woman will make about her birth.
Caryn Westdyk, a woman who has had two vaginal births after three (no that’s not a typo) cesarean births, and who teaches birth classes and doulas in Haslet, TX says,
“Hire the right care provider, someone who truly supports VBAC and has a high success rate of VBAC, not one that just tells you he/she will support you in a VBAC.”
Caryn is something of an experienced expert on this subject and we agree with her quite strongly.
Not only should you ask your care provider how often their VBAC clients achieve their goal (around 80%+ is very good), talk to other people about providers. Attending ICAN (International Cesarean Awareness Network) meetings can help you find both birth support people and other VBAC moms. They can have excellent insight about who will truly support you on this journey.
2. Surround yourself with positivity-
When planning a VBAC, women often encounter many negative voices. Friends, family, and even care providers can discourage women in her VBAC journey. Of course, listening to expert advice can be very helpful- but because VBAC is safe for most women but discouraged nonetheless, we may need to seek out voices of support.
Caryn, our VBA3C expert says,
“Find people who will truly support you and cheer you on in your journey to VBAC. If needed, step aside from negative people for the time being. It will only discourage you from your goal.”
Positive people, an educated partner, birth affirmations placed everywhere in your home, relaxation and visualization, good birth books- all of these things can be powerful tools in surrounding yourself with positivity as you prepare for VBAC.
3. Hire a Doula!
A doula serves a unique role in the birth process. She provides a positive force and voice during your pregnancy, a source of knowledge about community and what is available to you where you live, and a familiar face during your labor and delivery.
Doulas truly make a difference, just by being there.
“I could never have had my successful VBACs without my doula. She was invaluable in so many ways.”
A doula’s faith in you and your own personal power, her comforting hands when you need them most, her gentle reminder of your desires, and presence when things get tough or go off course- there is a reason that women who have doulas attend them for labor support simply report more positive experiences.
Hire a doula.
4. Get regular chiropractic care-
We talk a lot about chiropractic care in our childbirth classes. Why? Because over and over again childbirth educators, doulas, midwives, and birthing women have seen the incredible difference it can make in the birth process.
Caryn knows stuff- let’s let her explain.
“One of the biggest reasons for a cesarean is because of position problem with the baby. Getting regular chiropractic care could make or break whether or not you have a repeat cesarean vs. a VBAC.”
Those are some strong words, but they are also accurate.
You can read here about just how chiropractic works to help prepare your body for an amazing VBAC. You can find chiropractors who specialize in pregnant women here.
5. Take a childbirth class-
Education, education, education- it simply makes a difference.
So often our fears are not based in truth or are exacerbated by the unknown. A quality childbirth class can help you know what is really going on and know your true risks. Caryn says,
“A comprehensive birth class will help to prepare you in every way to set you up for success for your VBAC.”
Many of our Birth Boot Camp instructors are VBAC moms who realized how much education helped them get the their VBAC. Our class has a portion devoted to the truth about VBAC and repeat cesarean. Education is powerful.
6. Listen to your intuition-
Listening to your intuition has become such a foreign and odd concept that it almost sounds hokey and bizarre in our advanced day and age. Yet tapping into some of the knowledge of ourselves and our bodies that we have is a very important part of planning your VBAC.
Allison Record, a VBA3C mother who teaches childbirth classes in Highlands Ranch, CO says,
“Listen to your intuition. Take time each day to tune in to your body and connect with your growing little one. Your uterus isn’t worried about the scar it carries, it is growing your baby and planning to labor and push that baby out when BIRTH day comes. Face your fears, sit with them and see what you can learn from them, then send them on their way! Surround yourself with a supportive, loving, capable birth team who are in the habit of treating birth as normal. Consider staying off of social media and refrain from talking your friends and family about your VBAC plans. This is your journey, your body, your baby.”
Allison knows better than most how hard yet how necessary this can be.
Why is listening to your intuition so important when planning a VBAC?
Planning a VBAC is fraught with decisions- from your care provider and birthplace to how long you can stay pregnant safely. Navigating the research and opinions from so many surrounding voices can be incredibly difficult.
Listening to your intuition helps you make the choices that you feel safest with and which you will feel the best about after all is said and done. Lora Casco, a childbirth educator on Maui in Hawaii and woman who had four VBACS after two cesareans says,
“Believe in your ability to birth your baby, talk to your baby, have affirmations, visualize your birth!”
While achieving a VBAC for the modern woman can seem like catching a unicorn, it isn’t! Yes, planning, work, preparation, and maybe even sacrifice are needed but it can be done! VBAC is a safe and sane option for many, many birthing women.
We hope these six steps to planning a VBAC help you have the birth you want.