Hey, mamas! (Hopefully there are some papas-to-be reading this too. ;) ) Making the decision to go for a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Caesarean) is a huge deal. Many factors go into this choice and all weigh differently for each individual and couple according to their own personal circumstances. With that being said, if you are still debating whether trying for a VBAC is the right decision for you, you can check out some of my posts from a previous VBAC Series I did on the blog a few years ago. If you or your baby mama are in the process of gathering suggestions on how to have the best chances of a successful VBAC, read on!
*Find a Supportive Provider
This might be the most important suggestion I (and many other mamas who have gone for a VBAC) have to give. If you don't have a VBAC-friendly provider, your whole pregnancy and birth are going to be an uphill battle. Plus, you'll just be putting more stress on yourself. I (and again, many other moms) recommend driving even further to a nearby city if you are unable to find a supportive provider closer to home. (We drove over an hour!)
Be sure to look into hospital policies as well. Just because your provider may be open to VBACs does not necessarily mean the hospital where they deliver are or the other doctors in his/her practice, for that matter, who may be on call when you go into labor.
Also be sure to look for warning signs that may indicate that your doctor or midwife is NOT as VBAC-friendly as they seem.
*Communication is Key
...With your doctor/midwife, significant other/birthing partner, hospital staff at the time of birth, etc. Make your desires known to everyone (within reason ;) ) who will be involved with your pregnancy and birth so there is no confusion when the time comes and you may not even be able to talk!
*Know What You Want
Or at least have a very good idea and be willing to fight for it. Not to undermine medical providers, but you may need to back up your reasons for wanting to do certain things with facts, statistics, and research, which brings me to...
Research everything you can relating to VBACS: risks of actually trying for the vaginal birth, pregnancy risk factors that can make a VBAC more difficult to obtain, statistics on these items, etc. Read VBAC birth stories too, both good and bad. You can read my own VBAC story with my second daughter HERE.
*Learn to Advocate for Yourself
This is an absolute must and quite possibly just as important as finding a supportive provider. You must learn to stand up for yourself and what you believe in. It also helps to have a partner who is in board as well, of course.
*Be Open to Changes
Make and be open to contingency plans...But don't dwell on them. Positive thinking is so important when planning a VBAC. It's easy to worry about just about everything, trust me, but make those “what if?” plans and lock them in the back of your mind until the need arises for them. (Which hopefully it won't!)
*Prenatal Yoga & Exercise Ball
I am not a health nut by any means, but I am SO glad I started yoga while I was pregnant! It made me less cranky, more relaxed, and most importantly, limbered me up both in the short and long term. I really do think it helped me have a relatively easy labor. In fact, many of the poses can be used to help you through contractions.
I also invested in an exercise ball at about 37 weeks. Supposedly, it can help you thin your cervix and get baby to lower in your pelvis. If nothing else, bouncing on it off and on all day will help make your legs stronger, which helps during labor. ;)
Please keep in mind these are just my suggestions from my own personal experience. I'm sure there are some other things other moms who have had successful VBACs would include in this list. The most important thing is to listen to your instincts!
I am not a medical practitioner of any sort, therefore none of the information, advice, or recommendations above should be taken as professional medical advice. I am not liable for any injury that may come from the above information. Always consult with your medical practitioner before trying anything new or if you have any questions about anything during pregnancy and birth.