Having just experienced an incredibly empowering VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean) only 2 months ago with doulas, I thought it to make a great blog topic. But do not take it from me!
Founder of Calgary doula agency Chinook City Doulas, Lacey Park is a Labour & Postpartum Doula, Certified Postpartum Placenta Specialist, Childbirth Educator who offers her expertise in today’s guest blog: 5 Facts About Planning a VBAC
5 Facts About Planning a VBAC by Lacey Park
Many of my clients seek doula support because they feel it will be a key factor in achieving the VBAC they desire. In fact, studies have shown that having doula support reduces the likelihood of a caesarean birth in any low risk birth.
In Calgary, when you become pregnant after a prior surgical birth, you can plan to have a repeat, scheduled caesarean birth or you can choose to plan a VBAC.
This is a very individual decision.
You may prefer the predictability of a repeat C-section, an experience that will be most familiar if you have not given birth vaginally before. For others, planning a VBAC is the best choice.
If planning a VBAC might be right for you, here a few things you should know:
VBAC has benefits
VBAC is statistically safer for most people than a repeat C-section. There are many benefits to vaginal birth when compared to choosing a repeat C-section:
- less blood loss
- decreased risk of infection
- reduced injury
- eliminates the complications associated with surgery
- shorter hospital stay
- faster postpartum recovery
VBAC has risks
The risks are small but you should discuss them with your primary caregiver and partner to decide what is best for you.
- Uterine rupture is a rare but possible complication. Uterine rupture is when the uterus tears, usually along the line of the previous scar, and requires emergency surgery. Even more rarely, the following may occur:
- May result in excessive blood loss or hysterectomy
- Increased risk of infant death and brain damage
- Although the following risk factors do not mean planning a VBAC is unsafe, your chances of having a uterine rupture occur are slightly higher (but still very low) if:
- It has been less than 24 months since your previous C-section
- Your labor is induced (i.e. pitocin) or augmented
You may still be able to plan a VBAC if you have had more than one cesarean section
The risk of complications is slightly higher, but VBAC may still be an option, even if you have had 2 or more surgical deliveries. Talk to your primary health care provider to establish what is best for you.
You have pain relief options for your VBAC
If you are a planning a VBAC you will generally have the same pain relief options as any vaginally birth.
You may choose to use only non-pharmacological pain relief such as acupuncture, acupressure, massage, hydrotherapy, essential oils, visualization, counter pressure, etc. or you may choose to also seek relief with narcotics, nitrous oxide, or even an epidural.
You may have options for where you give birth
In many cases, HBAC (Home Birth After Cesarean) may be a possibility. This is a decision that will need to be made with the expertise of your midwives.
Whichever way you choose to give birth after a previous C-section, you have options. Your doctor and/or midwives, childbirth educator, and/or doulas can help you make the choices that are right for you.
Founder of Calgary doula agency Chinook City Doulas, Lacey Park is a Labour & Postpartum Doula, Certified Postpartum Placenta Specialist, Childbirth Educator. Her passion is creating engaging content for pregnancy and birth related blogs through Lacey Park Online.