11 Tips For A Successful VBAC
If you’ve had your baby previously through a caesarean section, whether that was planned or an emergency section and you are pregnant again, you will more than likely find yourself curious about VBAC’S (vaginal birth after caesarean). I was in a similar position to you. My 3rd child was born by “elective caesarean” for breech presentation. I went on to have 2 HBAC (Home Birth After Caesareans) that were empowering, healing and well supported by my midwives.
This led me down my path to become a Doula and wanting to inform and support other women so that they are able to make educated decisions when it comes to their births.
Since then I have supported many women on their own VBAC journeys, the majority pushing their baby out successfully, some going on to have repeat sections but knowing they have given their all and that this caesarean was truly necessary, being informed, making educated decisions and supported at all times.
11 Tips for a Successful VBAC
Care provider – Research and find an Ob or midwife that is VBAC supportive. Find out their % of successful vbacs, do they have a time limit on your labour, do they want you to book in for a repeat caesarean by a certain time “just in case”? A care provider that schedules a caesarean for 40 weeks “just in case” isn’t very supportive at all of your VBAC wishes.This also goes for your chosen place of birth.
Support – Being well supported and feeling safe in your chosen location of birth is imperative to your labour. Having support people by your side that know your wishes and will help you work towards them. Our partners/girlfriend/mother can make wonderful support people but do they really know the medical jargon or when to suggest a change of position, to get up and move, or those little tricks to help move baby down? A Doula is a great addition, I would say essential (of course) to you achieving your VBAC.
Active birth and pregnancy – Staying active in your pregnancy is so very important, being active in your labour is even more so. Remaining upright, using gravity to help your baby to descend, walk around, squat, shower, sit on the toilet. Avoid that epidural, if not completely then as long as possible. Remember gravity matters!
Foetal positioning – Optimal foetal positioning helps. Many labours “stall” or “fail to progress” due to posterior positioned babies. If we can work to get baby in a good position prior to labour or if we know that baby is in a posterior position when labour begins and use upright or forward leaning positions to help baby move around then pushing your baby out is more likely.
Knowledge – Be informed. Information is power. Do your research and know your options. Remember “If you don’t know your options, you don’t have any.” – Dianna Korte
Maximum time to go in to labour – Allow yourself as much time as possible to go in to labour naturally. 40 weeks is not a reason alone to induce your labour. You have more chances of a successful birth if you go in to labour spontaneously.
Birth plan – Write yourself up a clear birth plan (or birth preferences), while we cannot plan our births we can make sure that our desires are documented. Just by doing your research to make your birth plan you will find that you have many options available to you. Remember what may be policy at your chosen place of birth does not equal law to you. A doula can also assist you in writing up your Birth plan. She can also provide you with the pros and cons and assist you with your research. A back up plan in case things don’t go as you’d hoped is also a good idea and I encourage all clients to add this in to their birth plans.
Stay home as long as possible* – Where possible and provided you have no other concerns in your pregnancy/labour, stay home where you are comfortable. Labour will progress more smoothly if you are free to labour, eat, rest and do as you please while in early labour. The hospital environment can often slow down your labour if it’s not really established (even those in established labour can experience this).
Avoid induction – If you and baby are doing fine there is no reason to induce your labour. Labours that are induced unnecessarily often end up in theatre, usually for “failure to progress”. Some women will always go in to labour around 37 weeks, and others might not go in to labour naturally until 42 weeks. Both is completely normal and no reason to interfere.
Be healthy – Look after your health and fitness throughout your pregnancy. Eat good healthy food. Exercise and stay active. Walking, swimming, yoga and pilates are all great options during your pregnancy.
Self belief – Remember “I Can” not “I Can’t”. Believe in yourself, believe in your bodies ability to push your baby out. Find some affirmations that resonate with you, read them, believe them, maybe even print some out to stick around the room you are birthing in.
“Remember this, for it is as true and true gets: Your body is not a lemon. You are not a machine. The Creator is not a careless mechanic. Human female bodies have the same potential to give birth well as aardvarks, lions, rhinoceri, elephants, moose, and water buffalo. Even if it has not been your habit throughout your life so far, I recommend that you learn to think positively about your body.”
― Ina May Gaskin,