Once upon a time, most women didn't think about how to prepare for a VBAC. The consensus around town was that once a cesarean always a cesarean.
Um, hello, this stated was made by a man back in 1916. 1916 people! How are we still practicing under that nonsense?
Recently a shift happened, and women started to consider a VBAC birth. Do you know what that shift was? Women began to educate themselves, and instead of being told what to do, they started questioning the logic of choosing an abdominal surgery over vaginal birth.
So let's start with what a VBAC is.
Hey mama, I am Trish— AKA Labor Nurse Mama. I am a labor and delivery nurse with over 15 years of high-risk OB experience. I am also a mama to 7 kids and have given birth to 6. This means I am quite familiar with the postpartum period and how to navigate it. I am the online birth class educator for Calm Labor Confident Birth and The VBAC Lab birth classes and the mama expert inside our Calm Mama Society a pregnancy & postpartum membership community! I am passionate about your birth and motherhood journey! You can find me over on IG teaching over 230k mamas daily. I am passionate about your birth and motherhood journey!
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To Prepare for a VBAC you must understand what it is and who can have one.
A VBAC is a vaginal birth after cesarean section birth. Girl, just because you had a previous cesarean section, you do not have to have another one. In fact, if you have had a few cesareans, you can still try for a VBAC. I have many students who have successfully had a VBAC after 2 cesareans.
VBACs are pretty darn successful. In fact, the rate of successful VBACs is 60-80%! Uh...hello! That's a fabulous success rate.
First off, just because you are a good candidate doesn't mean you will have a successful VBAC. BUT it does increase the likelihood and helps to prepare for a VBAC. And the chances of a successful VBAC are in your favor.
Your success increases if:
Here are my tips for how to prepare for a successful VBAC and I am rooting for you to be just that...successful.
I know, I know, I say it all the stinking time. Educate yourself and empower yourself. That's my motto mama!
First and foremost, Do you know the number one reason they don't want you to have a VBAC?
But did you also know that the chance of that happening is less than 1%! Being educated allows you to combat the resistance that's coming your way. Trust me; it's coming. Be prepared.
You should most definitely take a class to best prepare yourself.
I am so passionate about my VBAC mamas that I poured my life into creating the perfect VBAC birth course. The VBAC Lab is the only place you’ll find real talk, straight from a labor nurse. It’s a complete plan that will help you create an unshakeable mindset & faith in your body’s ability to have a VBAC. I will empower you & guide you so you’ll feel confident from the moment you step into the labor room to the moment you bring your baby home.
I love to read so it would be crazy if I didn't suggest a few books for you to check out.
Ina May's Guide to Childbirth (MY BIRTH BIBLE!)
Cut, Stapled, & Mended (more of a personal account)
A successful VBAC starts with a positive mindset. Girl, I promise you that in all aspects of birth, your thinking makes a difference. These successful VBAC tips won't be as powerful if you're thinking negatively.
I want you to begin to flip the script. Instead of saying:
I am going to try for a VBAC, flip it to, I am going to have a VBAC.
My body failed me last time: My body is incredible and capable.
I don't know if I will be able to push. I am a pushing powerhouse, made to birth this baby.
Get the drift?
Going into birth with confidence and education can be the difference between a successful VBAC and a failed one.
Related Post: How and Why you Need to Protect the Golden Hour after Birth
This is key, I mean the key to all things birth, I want you to believe in the power of that body of yours!
Your body is amazing. Know that, embrace that and believe it.
Believe you can, and you're halfway there! ~ Theodore Roosevelt
I am a cheerleader for you choosing the right provider for your pregnancy and birth plan.
This is something I scream from the rooftops even if you are not planning a VBAC. You should and can interview providers to find one who is supportive of VBAC births and can share successful VBAC tips with you.
Here are the main differences between a VBAC friendly provider vs a VBAC tolerant provider:
Your Vbac friendly provider will support your choices and will not put up roadblocks.
A VBAC tolerant provider will not induce a VBAC mama.
Your VBAC friendly provider has no problem with you going past your due date.
A VBAC tolerant provider will use every excuse to suggest a cesarean.
Your VBAC friendly provider will do everything to ensure your success.
A VBAC tolerant provider will be put off by your knowledge and questioning of decisions in your care.
Your VBAC friendly provider will encourage you taking a VBAC birth course and asking educated questions.
Choosing a VBAC friendly provider is key.
I suggest starting with a VBAC community or a local moms group to find your VBAC friendly provider.
Choosing where you deliver goes hand in hand with who you choose as your birth provider. You want a VBAC-friendly facility. Enquire about the hospital's policies for VBAC birth. If they have policies that are not in line with your desires, find another place.
If you are unable to deliver at a VBAC-friendly facility, remember that policies are just that. You are allowed to refuse anything in labor. However, don't refuse just because you can; education, specifically a VBAC course, is critical.
Call local birth centers and ask them about their VBAC policies and their successful VBAC tips. They can be a wealth of valuable information for you to have throughout your experience. I teach my students inside my VBAC birth course how to stand up for their desires and challenge outdated policies.
Having the right team around you during your birth can make or break the experience for you. A successful VBAC can depend on the ability to advocate for yourself. No one can advocate for you like your team and your doula that you handpick.
Having consistent emotional and physical support during your VBAC birth significantly increases the chances of successful vaginal delivery.
I am one of those crazy "natural" labor nurses who encourages you to go armed with a plan. Watch this video for why and how I suggest creating the perfect birth plan.
You can grab your free birth plan right here and get started creating your preferences.
The power of the birth plan is not the words written or the sheet of paper. The power is the education and information you sought while creating the VBAC birth plan.
The key is knowing your why behind every birth preference in your plan.
This one might just get me into trouble. A VBAC tolerant provider might tell you not to stay at home. But this is simply untrue. I teach my students inside my VBAC birth course to stay home as long as possible.
The importance of being in your own environment is to feel safe and supported. It is proven that a woman who feels safe and supported during her labor experience will progress quicker and need fewer interventions.
As with all my successful VBAC tips, you need to discuss your plans with your provider. Your provider knows your history and your current health status.
When choosing a VBAC Birth course, be sure to choose one with a support community. The support is priceless. The other VBAC mamas can understand your desires and feelings like no other. To use few words and another mama to understand exactly what you are saying is incredibly comforting.
Participating in the weekly happy hours gave me insights on not only my own pregnancy and problems I was facing; but the opportunity to learn from other moms and their pregnancy journeys as well. I discussed with Trish and the other moms about ideas for turning my breech baby, what to do's and tips when I was diagnosed with low amniotic fluid, and generally dive further into specifics in the class when I had more questions. The one-on-one attention and time that is put into these Happy Hours were so appreciated!Mattie - Vbac Lab Student
ICANN is the International Cesarean Awareness Network. Within this site, you can locate local support groups and more.
Check out their Mission and Vision Statements and can I get a Hallelujah!
The International Cesarean Awareness Network is a non-profit organization whose mission is to improve maternal-child health by reducing preventable cesareans through education, supporting cesarean recovery, and advocating for vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC).
A reduction in the cesarean rate is driven by women assuming responsibility for their healthcare by making evidence-based, risk-appropriate childbirth decisions.
I don't want to bring negativity as I am against negativity when it comes to birth. I am, however, all for education and preparation.
If, for some reason, you CHOOSE a repeat cesarean in light of your situation, be prepared with a plan. Take the time now to read how and why you should ask for a family-centered cesarean.
I am rooting that these successful VBAC tips will get you to the goal of having the VBAC birth your desire.