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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Where to go for important VBAC information

I have to remember that not everyone visiting my site is a seasoned "VBACer" and might be just starting out in their search for good, basic information, even on birth in general.

I was visiting the ICAN (International Cesarean Awareness Network) website yesterday in search of VBAC-friendly providers . In a nutshell, we are considering moving out of state, and I'm not sure I'm done having children yet. On the site you can find very useful information on VBAC-friendly hospitals as well as those who ban it outright, and those who have a 'de facto ban,' which basically means the hospital has no formal ban policy in place, but there are no doctors who would support your decision.

Also included in the search criteria is what the hospital's stance is on it should you show up ready to push at a VBAC-banned hospital. If you click on the hospital's name, it shows a date for when the information was obtained, and what their policy is on VBACs. Many that don't allow them stated up front that you would be transferred to a larger hospital more equipped to handle your delivery (many base this on how far your labor had progressed when you arrived) and some say that should you show up and labor is imminent, they will let you deliver the baby vaginally.

I am not a doctor and therefore not willing to dispense crazy medical advice, but I have heard of many brave women laboring outside the hospital or in the lobby, and then show up at L&D when the baby was crowning. (But you didn't hear this from me.) While this might sound like an insane idea, it only drives the point home that in places where VBACs are "banned," it could possibly drive women to take chances that care providers might consider risky, and could create even more potentially dangerous situations should women feel threatened by care providers who won't let them attempt a VBAC.

Since I don't know any of the women who read my site, I am a bit concerned that my post on a VBAC gone wrong has been coming up in search criteria and I wanted to make sure no one was basing their decision on reading that post alone. Granted, if you want to do a VBAC that is just one facet in the entire bigger picture, but again, since I'm not sure where some women are in their "birth journey," so to speak, I didn't want them to possibly get scared away from even considering one.

No one is, or should be, making you feel like less of a woman because you decided not to attempt a vaginal birth. The information is out there, but many care providers will discourage you from even thinking about it by giving negative stories, skewed statistics and misinformation that does nothing but cloud your judgment, sway you towards your doctor's opinion, and make you think that VBAC produces nothing but bad outcomes. In fact, the opposite is usually true, but many women don't realize this or even consider the possible dangers of having a repeat c-section.

If you have a supportive care giver who is willing to accurately tell you both sides of the story, then you probably need to look no further. But please understand that many, many physicians and midwives will initially support you in your decision, only to turn around at the last minute and change their minds, which can be a crushing blow to many women who have their hearts set on a vaginal birth.

It's unfortunate that you have to go searching for your own information simply because your doctor isn't telling you everything. Again, I am not a medical professional, but have experienced first-hand some of the negativity and bias of physicians, I have had a VBAC, and have done a lot of my own research through invaluable sites like ICAN and others. I only offer information to women with the knowledge that they can do with it what they choose, but at least want them to know that they do have a choice. No one is dispensing "badges of honor" for having a vaginal birth, but just information that can possibly help you to make the most informed choice possible.

Other websites to check out, that can help both with a VBAC and a vaginal birth in general, can be found here: , , and Giving Birth Naturally .