Photograph from Michele of BirthCut.com
We are strong advocates of VBAC and HBAC births for women who wish to pursue them. While it is likely a good majority of the 33% of women who are cut open on any given day in the United States to have their babies pulled from within believe that it needed to happen that way, the simple fact of the matter is that 1 in 3 babies does not actually need to be born via c-section. We are witnessing an interventions domino effect of the worst kind - one that impacts women and their health and their birth experiences, and one that impacts their babies equally as much -- their health, well being, and start in life.
Many experienced homebirth midwives have a c-section rate around 5%. The mother of modern day midwifery, Ina May Gaskin, has attended birth at home for over 4 decades and has a 1-2% cesarean transfer rate. Even in hospitals, we see c-section rates no greater than 10% when birth is left alone, not 'messed with' or induced without need -- when a woman's body and her baby are allowed to work together physiologically as they were designed to do -- in their own good and perfect timing. There are rare occasions when cesareans are needed and life saving -- and for those times, God bless good obstetricians. But these truly necessary surgeries really are just that rare - about 3% of births. Too often, when we hire surgeons for what is an otherwise natural, normal part of a woman's sexual/life cycle, what we end up with is surgery!
Dr. Marsden Wagner (MD, birth attendant, midwifery supporter, and former director of Women's and Children's Health with the World Health Organization) said, "If you really want a humanized birth, the best thing to do is get the hell out of the hospital!" Sad, but true. Just by walking into the doors of a hospital to birth, your rate of c-section skyrockets in the United States. Birth here is seriously in a state of crisis. But women who have walked down this road of major abdominal surgery to birth their first, or second, third, or even fourth babies, need not do the same for their next birth. VBAC, HBAC, VBAMC/HBAMC are safe! In fact, there are more risks (to both baby and mom) associated with each consecutive cesarean than there is with VBAC.
Women's bodies DO WORK!
Babies DO know how to be born!
We need to trust. And learn. Trust some more. And learn some more...
Here are some excellent sources to get started on this vitally important topic.
The VBAC Companion
Natural Childbirth After Cesarean
Birth After Cesarean: The Medical Facts
The VBAC Experience
Don't Cut Me Again
Vaginal Birth After Cesarean: The Smart Woman's Guide to VBAC
Vaginal Birth After Cesarean: The VBAC Handbook
Books not focused exclusively on VBAC, but with important, related, relevant birth research:
Gentle Birth Choices
Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering
Birth & Breastfeeding: Rediscovering the Needs of Women during Pregnancy and Childbirth
Pushed: The Painful Truth about Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care
Ina May's Guide to Childbirth
Born in the USA: How a Broken Maternity System must be Fixed to put Women and Children First
Birthing From Within
International Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN)
VBAC.COM: A Woman Centered, Evidence Based Resource
Once a Cesarean, Always a Cesarean? The Sorry State of Birth Choices in America
VBAMC (Vaginal Birth After Multiple Cesareans) Research
Cesarean & VBAC Information (including information for plus-size pregnant women)
VBAMC on ICAN
VBAC Victory! (One Woman's Story)
HBAC: Homebirth After Cesarean
C-Section Not Best for Breech Birth
Once a Cesarean, Always a Cesarean?
Peaceful Parenting in the Hospital After Cesarean
Cesarean vs. VBAC: A Dramatic Difference
Finding My Voice: VBAC
HBAC: Homebirth After Cesarean:
Montage of VBAMC Birthing Women:
One Woman's HBA3C (Homebirth after 3 cesareans):
Another mother's powerful HBAC birth:
VBA3C "Our Faith" Story:
HBA4C (Homebirth after 4 c-sections):
Amanda's journey to her VBA2C (VBAC after 2 c-sections):
Another mother's journey to HBAC:
VBA2C (VBAC after 2 c-sections):
VBA2C (VBAC after 2 c-sections):
HBA3C: Our Journey to Homebirth:
Thanks so much for all this great info! I was unfortunately one of those 3 women and the first thing I did when I got home was look up my local ICAN chapter. There is no way I'm going to be cut open again!ReplyDelete
I birthed my youngest at home after 2 cesareans. Unfortunately, I had a midwife who used Cytotec to induce so it wasn't the natural birth that I wanted. I had the opportunity to be a doula for a mom a year later--she had a home waterbirth after 2 cesareans. It was an amazing, healing birth for me.ReplyDelete
Do you know any books or articles or movies specifically on HBAC?ReplyDelete
I am expecting my seventh child in two weeks. It will be my third VBAC. I do not receive support for my decision. These stories give me a lot of hope.ReplyDelete
I wish that I could have had this opportunity. Number 1 was an emergency c-section for an active placental abruption (my husband and I had hoped for a natural/drug free birth in the hospital and all the others would be at home). #2 was going to be a VBAC in the hospital, but at 36 weeks, it was de ja vu again. I was actively abrupting. #3 was again going to be an attempt at a VBAC in the hospital, but at 33.6 weeks, my little one had other plans and after a lot of dissappointment, my third emergency c-sections was performed. Now, given the complications of the prior 3, I am too scared to have any more. . . It still brings tears to my eyes to think that my body was unable to do what it was meant to do. . .ReplyDelete
I am so sorry to hear of your birth experiences. I've only had 1 c/s, but even enduring that one has taken a toll on me. I'm sure that if I had to do it 2 more times, the *life* would be sucked out of me. So while I cannot offer any real great words of wisdom, I do know that each of your birth experiences was still just as valuable and real and in no way makes you less of a mother or birth warrior -- if anything, you have conquered more. I bet in your shoes you really can understand the healing power that comes from having a VBAMC - especially after 3 or 4 c/s. I'd be scared too (I have to admit a little fear even now as I look toward birth #2) but thank you for your honesty and your story.
Can I suggest some links from the NIH conference? They are VBAC vs. RCS safety-oriented but informative and can be helpful in swaying a provider with facts (if a truly VBAC-friendly provider is not available):ReplyDelete
http://www.ahrq.gov/clinic/tp/vbacuptp.htm (open the most recent evidence report pdf at the bottom of the page).
Thanks for this :)ReplyDelete
I was blessed to find ICAN during my third pregnancy and was planning a HBAC. It ended up being a HBAC of my first set of twins! ICAN was a wonderful support for me.ReplyDelete
Here's my video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xi37qJ-mIoU
@ Mary your body grew 3 wonderful children it did exactly what it was supposed to do :)ReplyDelete
7/02 emergency section
12/05 angel baby
2/10 sectioned failed vbac attempt
10/10 angel baby
due 8/11 and planning an HBA2C
Thank you so much for this info!!!! I had a c-section in May 2010 and I never want to go through that again! ALL NATURAL VBAC next time!!!!ReplyDelete
What if you had a verticle c-section do any of these sources speack directly to that. Can a women have a natural birth after a verticle c-section?ReplyDelete
What if you had a verticle c-section. Can a women have a vaginal birth after a verticle c-section. Do any of these sources speack directly about that? who would I contact to get more information or any other helpful info if I want to have a vaginal birth after a verticle c-section and then a second normal c-section. I want my third child to be a vaginal birth. Thank youReplyDelete
I have had 5 c-sec and ii want my last child to be born vaginaly how can i find a doc or midwife in my area that will take me on? is it really possible??ReplyDelete