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8 Ways to Prepare for Vaginal Birth After Cesarean

Posted by on Jul 2, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

8 Ways to Prepare for Vaginal Birth After Cesarean

 Attempting a vaginal delivery after a cesarean is a big decision.    Although research cites that a woman’s chances of a successful VBAC are about on par with the vaginal delivery rate of a woman birthing for the first time, (75% according to B.C. Woman’s Best Birth Clinic), there are some very powerful distinctions between these experiences.   Most women who delivered previously via cesarean, have complex birth stories, coupled with a variety of intense emotions that have set the mind and body’s initial blueprint for what birthing feels like.  For some, it is a momentously courageous decision to go forward on the path to VBAC; as not only does she face the unknown challenge of the upcoming birth, but is most likely reliving memories of prior difficulties.  Here are a few suggestions for making the road a little clearer.

1.  Be clear about your choice.  Take time to connect with how you really feel, and what it is you really want.  Is VBAC the right decision for you?  If you are unsure, you can complete this decision making tool to help gain some clarity.  To VBAC or not to VBAC (Adapted with new considerations from the original which can be found in the pdf below).

2.  Make educated decisions.  Will your decision to attempt or not change knowing all of the benefits and risks involved with your choice?  Some of our fears can be misguided when we have false information.  This pdf from The Best Birth Clinic’s “Power to Push” Campaign has great and straight forward information on all of your birthing options. Best-Birth-Clinic-VBAC-Patient-Info-Booklet-with-BC-Data_web

3.  Work on history.  If previous birth stories bring up overwhelming emotions, it is helpful to bring some peace to the past.  Here are some resources for doing just that in the Vancouver area.

4.  Be in the present.  This is a new birth, a new story.  Becoming skilled with a mindfulness practice, or as Pam England from Birthing From Within cites, an Awareness Practice, which will help keep the focus on coping with the present situation.  A great practice for pregnancy, with huge benefits for birth and parenting.

5.  Be body ready.  One of the most helpful ways for being prepared for any labour is getting connected to the health and strength, and wisdom in our bodies.  Diet and exercise will not only help increase body health, but is shown to greatly improve our mental functioning and mood as well.  Learning to attune to the messages in our bodies is a worthwhile undertaking.  Writing in a journal, or birth art can be a great method for tuning in.

6.  Be supported by a care team that fits with your priorities.  Doctor, midwife, or O.B.?  The most important factor is that you feel that your feelings and choices are respected.

7.  Consider a doula.  The research shows that having good support helps increase satisfaction in birth experiences, and lowers cesarean and intervention rates.  Here to learn more about doulas.

8.  Be supported by your community.  Whether this looks like doing a refresher prenatal education class that emphasizes your body’s ability to birth, or a baby shower or” blessing way” from your group of women friends and family; gathering in community is a wonderful way to connect with positive intentions for birth.

And the final consideration is how will you feel if you attempt a vaginal delivery after cesarean, and it is unsuccessful?  What does this mean to you, and how will you cope physically and emotionally afterward?  When we make space for all possibilities, we are truly prepared.  What would you like to have honoured if the birth is done via cesarean delivery?  Have those conversations with your care team before hand.  Yes the bottom line is a healthy mom and baby, but there are a lot of important lines before that one.  Birth experiences are important and foundational to the vision of ourselves as mothers.  What ever way we birth our baby, vaginally or through surgery, it is challenging, and sacred.  No mother who has birthed has failed.  So here’s to all of those courageous women embarking upon the journey of birth once more.  May your experience be all it was meant to be, endowing you with the discovery of your great strength and beauty once more.

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