Tuesday, January 14, 2014

VBAC Series: What ARE Your Options?

            Thank you so much for joining me for the VBAC Series here on Getting Green with Baby. I hope all of you ladies out there hoping, planning, or even considering a VBAC have found some helpful information and inspiration here. We're going to wrap up today by examining what exactly your options are for delivery.
            While in theory you have the exact same options on where to delivery your baby as a woman who has had no prior c-sections, there are some major limitations. Your state and specific location are obviously going to play a major role in what options are available to you. Then there are also state laws and VBAC bans at some hospitals to consider. Feeling overwhelmed? You're not alone!

            With those issues being touched upon, let's look at some possible options and advantages and disadvantages you may face with each.

            -readily available emergency care
            -pain relief medication
            -extra/continuous monitoring (Many hospitals will want to monitor you more than a "normal" birth.)
            -inability to move around as desired
            -may encounter pushy or negative medical personnel
            -limited time with baby directly after birth
            -not allowed to eat or drink anything
*Birth Center (Not to be confused with birthing/maternity departments at hospitals, although some are starting to use this term for them. I'm talking about the free standing ones for women who want a more natural, "at home" experience but are unable or unwilling to have a home birth. I'd also like to note that some birthing centers flat out deny VBACs and others are willing to take clients on a case-by-case basis.)
            -relaxed atmosphere. You are generally allowed to labor and birth at your own pace.
            -ability to move around freely & get into different positions
            -ability to use different objects to help ease labor, such as birthing balls, tub, etc.
            -usually allowed to birth wherever you would like, such as the tub, bed, birthing chair, etc.
            -baby is not whisked away right after birth. Skin-to-skin and bonding time are encouraged.
            -usually allowed to eat and drink whatever you like
            -no pain medication (this is actually an advantage for some people)
            -no operating room
            -midwives and other medical personnel who deliver at birthing centers are trained in emergency
             medical procedures, such as resuscitation, but, again, there is no operating room. You would need
             to be transported to a hospital in a life threatening situation.
*Home Birth (Please note that there are laws in each state that dictate whether a midwife is legally allowed to attend a HBAC (Home Birth After Cesarean) or not.)
            -comfort of laboring in familiar surroundings.
            -ability to move around freely and get into different positions
            -ability to labor and birth in tub
            -able to drink and eat whatever you like
            -ability to allow more friends and family to attend birth
            -ability to bond with baby right away
            -allowed to labor at your own pace
            -if hiring a midwife, having someone to help you with minor emergencies or transport you to the
             hospital if needed is a comfort and blessing
             -no pain medication
             -no immediate access to emergency care

            These are just the 3 main options women may choose for VBACs. As with most things, there are variations thereof. I have read about some women waiting until the very last minute (sometimes quite literally!) to go to the hospital with their doula and birth partner(s) in tow. There are several reasons women may choose to do this, including midwives not being allowed to attend HBACs in their area, not wanting an unassisted home birth, their local hospital having a ban on VBACs, or some combination of the three.
            No single option will be the right one for every woman. There are risks associated with any option you choose and you have to figure out which ones you're willing to deal with. Again, keep in mind your goals and values and do your research.
            In closing, I wish you all the best of luck with your VBAC journey!

*Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. The information in this post should not be taken as medical advice.


  1. Thanks for posting. Thankfully, I had a vaginal birth with my daughter, but my SIL had a c-section and does not want one for Baby #2.