Friday, May 20, 2011

7 Ways You Can Increase Your Chances For a VBAC

So, this post is very personal to me, I had what I would consider a unnecessary cesarean birth with my first. During the the process of preparing for conception, pregnancy, and birth I did everything I could to increase my chances of having a successful vaginal birth after cesarean. I have comprised a list of things that will truly help any mom planning a VBAC.

Even though about 80% of women have successful VBACs, I think it is important to be a proactive advocate for yourself. We shouldn't just sit back and hope for the best, assuming that last time was just a mistake and things will just "work out" this time around. We need to seek out ways to improve our chances and be prepared.

Here are 7 ways to increase your chances of a successful VBAC:

1) Get a midwife! I think the most important way to increase your chance for a successful VBAC is to find a midwife that 100% supports and encourages your decision. I say find one, because just like there are GREAT OBs our there (and we are lucky to have them, so if no Midwive is available, then seek out a great OB.) there are also very medical midwives. So, the first thing you need to do is research, use the internet, friends, family, local support group. Try your local ICAN group, they would be one of the best resources you can find. The midwife you choose should offer advice on how to be successful and not focus on what would cause you to not be successful. Some care providers might be tolerant of your or say "well, you can try" while others will help you realize that you can do it, and educate you on the ways to be most successful.
*Note, I am not saying there are not wonderful and amazing OBs out there, I just saying consider the option of a midwife.*

2) Learn from the past! Get a copy of your medical record, read through it. You should understand what happened, and why your last birth went the way it did. Even if you think you know why you had your c-section, you may have forgotten significant details. If you find that your baby was posterior and had a hard time engaging and descending, then read everything you can about optimal position. A great site for that would be Spinning Babies. If you were listed as "Failure to Progress" i would suggest learning more about the natural process of birth. Often women have phases of rest, and care providers can interpret that as 'nothing is happening.' This is a great study on waiting it out.

3) See a Chiropractor! I completely believe in this and the powerful way they can help moms prepare for a better birth. A chiropractor who specializes in maternity care can mean the difference between comfort or not during pregnancy and birth. There are two main reasons for adding a chiropractor to your list of super heroes as you plan for your VBAC. First, when a women is pregnant the ligaments, muscles, and bones are all moving as your belly bump expands. This movement can cause discomfort that they can easily and effectively help you to relieve. Not only will they keep you comfortable, they will keep everything LINED UP. As those ligaments more, they can pull bones out of alignment, and that can change the pelvic inlet and outlet. Keeping things lined up is key if you want to increase the chances of a vaginal birth. Secondly, if you schedule your first appointment before you are pregnant, they can do x-rays to get a better idea of what is going on, and what needs to be addressed.

4) CPD is relative not a commitment to births for the rest of your life! Ok, that was long, but it is true. Many women see CPD (cephalopelvic disproportion) as a death sentence. They believe, probably because they are told, that CPD means that they just don't have birthing hips. When I hear women repeat this to me it makes me sad. The truth is Cephalopelvic Disproportion means that the baby's head or body is too big for the mother's pelvis. This does not mean the mother is broken or inadequate. It means that in all actuality it was a one time occurrence, and this next birth can and probably will be different. Empower yourself through education. f you want to learn more about CPD look here

5) Avoid Induction! I am not talking medically necessary induction, I am talking induction for convenience. Remember, your greatest chances for a successful VBAC is natural spontaneous labor. Let your body tell you, and your care provider, when he/she is ready to come. Also, when your birthing time arrives, allow it to progress naturally. If you do need to augment your contractions to regulate them, try a natural option. Walking, nipple stimulation, and pressure points. This may help you avoid pitocin and further intervention.

6) Prepare yourself for a great un-medicated birth! Having an un-medicated birth will increase your chances of a vaginal birth. Take a childbirth class, this is just as important as hiring the right care provider. There are several great natural childbirth options out there to help prepare you. I used Hypnobabies Hypnosis for Childbirth, and I LOVED that they had a VBAC Success Hypnosis CD. Most childbirth classes will not only will this help prepare you to work through contractions, it will also teach you how to stay active. Movement is so important in aiding your baby down and out the birth canal. I like to tell my moms that babies "Dance their way out." Your baby will rotate and descend the birth canal as he/she is born. Movement such as walking, rocking, and sitting upright will help that baby 'dance out' a little easier.

I saved one of the best for last...
7) Hire a DOULA!! A doula is a professional birth partner who specialises in helping women to feel encouraged, empowered, knowledgeable and relaxed. They help mom and dad by providing them with skills, knowledge and experience. Studies have shown that having a doula can reduce the chances of a caesarean birth by up to 50%. And if you are planning a VBAC, 50% is a BIG deal.

Add to all of this a great diet and regular exercise and you are setting yourself up for a great pregnancy and a great birth.

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