For some, a previous birth may set the stage for an unexpected journey. Having an unexpected cesarean is an example. You may have other unexpected events you can relate to if you haven’t had either a previous birth or a cesarean. If you are hoping for a vaginal birth this time, you may already be wondering who you can trust to help you. This can be especially true if seeking a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC). Strong feelings about your previous experience and what led to a cesarean may drive decisions for your choices in care this time around.
Whether a person has had one, two, or even three previous cesareans, it’s ideal to work with a midwife or a doctor who has helped many families with a VBAC. Whether the setting is a home or a hospital or the risk is small or moderate, having a provider who understands physiological birth can be a lighthouse in a storm of doubt. Someone committed to VBAC goals can help parents navigate the waves of normal labor variations such as a longer length of labor. A doula with VBAC experience might be vital in situations where common but unforeseen changes occur. For instance, the provider you expect is suddenly not available or is tired from a long day and night of helping others when you arrive.
A mindful doula can help the providers that care for you throughout your pregnancy and birth to understand your needs. Having your needs met improves your sense of self as a person, as a parent, and within your body. Your birth team is your team to meet your needs, both physically and emotionally. See more on birth teams in upcoming Weeks 9 and 15.
Knowing how to do the techniques we recommend for easier birth may come in handy during labor. Your body will have felt them and perfected them for your own use. Your team will find ease in your familiarity with the Side-lying Release and Forward-leaning Inversion, for instance.
Planning a VBAC
Begin your VBAC decision-making process by diving into evidence-based research. You have the right to choose a VBAC-friendly provider. Seek the local community of families who value and choose vaginal childbirth to find care provider recommendations. The International Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN) is one resource that offers many local chapters. Educating yourself about your VBAC options affirms that you are worthy of a healthy choice for you and your baby. Be willing to travel, change, and meet new people. It’s all part of meeting the needs of you and your baby.
Affirmations are short, powerful statements that can affect your conscious thoughts. Close your eyes, breathe deeply and slowly, and repeat the following to yourself each day throughout the next week. Fill yourself with breath and feel the joy:
- De Vries, J. I., Visser, G. H., & Prechtl, H. F. (1982). The emergence of fetal behaviour. I. Qualitative aspects. Early human development, 7(4), 301-322.