Cesareans rates are around 30% in my community, and odds are they’re a similar rate in yours. Because it’s such a common procedure, it makes sense that we all have lots of images, thoughts, emotions and ideas when it comes to giving birth by cesarean and subsequent pregnancies. Interestingly enough, each community across the globe also has its own unique images, thoughts, emotions and ideas shaped by its history, care providers and residents. Because of this, when planning for a VBAC it’s important to take into consideration where you reside as it is a key component to the success of VBAC.
Planning for a VBAC in Your Community
A VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) cannot exist in a vacuum. Or on an island. Well… that’s probably not true. I bet VBACs would be somewhat more successful on an island. But that’s not my point. My point is that one of the best things a woman can do to is to plug into various micro-communities within her city for information, planning and support when planning for a VBAC.
For example, where I live a large obstetrical practice that does not support VBAC tells its patients that there are no care providers in town that offers VBAC as an option. This is simply not true. If a woman has not investigated VBAC outside of this practice, how would she know her true options? She wouldn’t. I have friends that have had repeat cesareans only because they thought this was the only option.
Considering this example, you can see the importance of taking into consideration where one lives, the options and constraints of that area when planning for a VBAC.
When planning for a VBAC in your community, consider the following to increase the chances of a safe and satisfying vaginal delivery after cesarean.
Attend a Local ICAN Chapter Meeting
ICAN (International Cesarean Awareness Network) is a global organization that manifests itself in local, women run support groups. In a support group you will have access to a wealth of information about VBAC, but also information pertinent to planning for a VBAC in your specific community.
Each community has its own laws, regulations, care providers and therefore options. If you want the 411 on VBAC in your community, an ICAN meeting is a great first step. Not only will you learn information, but you will hear other women’s stories who gave birth where you live. A first hand account can sometimes be even more helpful than statistics, rules or laws.
Another way to begin planning for a VBAC in your community is to interview doulas. I’m not necessarily saying your should hire a doula, although I do highly recommend it, but the simple act of interviewing doulas can be very enlightening.
You see, doulas are the only trained professionals in the community that attend births everywhere – home, birth center and hospital. They’ve worked with all sorts of care providers and have a unique perspective to giving birth in a particular city.
She may be hesitant to share negative stories about specific care providers, but I bet she would be happy to share the details of the births that went well.
Also, in addition to asking her about care providers, gather information about her experience with particular birth venues. Shockingly, the chance of a cesarean can increase or decrease solely based on where you give birth.
By interviewing doulas, you will start to get a clearer picture on what it’s like to VBAC in your city. Hopefully, you’ll also connect with one of these doulas and hire her. You’ll be so grateful for that individualized support!
Hire a Supportive Care Provider
Some may think it odd that hiring a supportive care provider is third on this post about planning for a VBAC. However, I think it’s near impossible to make an informed decision on a care provider without first picking the brains of women in an ICAN group or a handful of doulas.
So often women choose a care provider because “they’ve heard good things” or “all their friends use them” which may work just fine. But when planning for a VBAC, it’s important to not leave the choice of care provider up to chance, but consider it carefully as it’s one of the biggest influencing factors in your next birth’s outcome.
I suggest interviewing 2-3 carefully chosen care providers either before pregnancy or in the first trimester. Here are a few questions to ask on your interviews.
- What is your philosophy about VBAC?
- How have you supported VBAC?
- What’s your best advice to someone planning for a VBAC?
- What makes this practice more or less supportive of VBAC?
- What are your VBAC success rates?
- How often do you attend VBACs?
- Do your colleagues practice with the same opinion and beliefs?
- What will be different about a VBAC labor compared to a first time mom’s?
- What tests, procedures and protocol should a VBAC patient expect?
For some women there are no local ICAN chapter meetings. No doulas. And no supportive care providers of VBAC. Because of this for many it likely means a repeat cesarean, but this doesn’t necessarily have to be the case.
Another option, because there are usually other options, is to consider traveling to a place that offers and supports a women’s right to a safe and satisfying VBAC.
I know several women that have traveled OUT of my community and several women who have traveled INTO my community to increase their chances of having the birth they were hoping for. I have even heard of women leaving particular countries to do the same.
Does traveling to give birth sound drastic? Well for these women, compromising and giving birth in a manner in which they didn’t see fit was more drastic than the inconveniences of travel.
If you do not have the support and resources to give birth in the most safe and satisfying way, consider traveling. It may be worth it!
More Tips: Planning for a VBAC
If you are just beginning your VBAC journey don’t stop here! For more VBAC tips, head on over here to read 10 Proven Tips for a Successful VBAC.
Prepare for a Cesarean
Part of the journey of planning for a VBAC is to also Prepare for a Cesarean Without Expecting One. If you’re wondering what a more family friendly cesarean looks like, consider reading about a Gentle C Section: How to Experience a Gentle Cesarean.
Read VBAC Books
If you’re a voracious reader, you’ll enjoy this book list: VBAC Books for Planning a VBAC Birth. Happy reading!
Planning for a VBAC in Your Community
When planning for a VBAC one of the best things a woman can do to is to plug into various micro-communities within her city for information, planning and support. Consider the following to increase the chances of a safe and satisfying vaginal delivery after cesarean.
- Attend a Local ICAN Chapter Meeting
- Interview Doulas
- Hire a Supportive Care Provider
- Consider Traveling
Talk to Me!
What else does a woman need to consider when planning for a VBAC in her community? Leave me a comment and let me know!