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How to increase your chances of a successful VBAC

Learn to play the VBAC odds

From SheKnows UK
If you are planning a vaginal birth after caesarean [VBAC] you’ll want to do everything in your power to help your baby's birth go smoothly. Nothing in life can ever be guaranteed but, by following these simple tips, you can help to increase your chances of a successful VBAC.

Get your notes

Many women find it difficult to prepare for a VBAC if they aren't completely sure of the reasons for their previous caesarean. Even if you think you know why you had your c-section,  you may have forgotten significant details -- you were busy having a baby, after all!

Reading through the notes from your previous birth can help you to fully understand why a caesarean was needed, and can also help you to unload any emotional issues that you may not yet have come to terms with. You can access your medical notes by putting in a request when you next see your doctor or midwife. You can usually get them for free, but you may be charged a small administration fee if you have moved to a different area since having your last baby.

Find supportive caregivers

While you are preparing for a VBAC, there is nothing more disheartening than a midwife or doctor who seems set on persuading you to have another caesarean. If there is no specific medical reason why you should opt for another c-section, your caregivers should encourage your decision to have a VBAC.

If your current midwife is not supporting your birth choice, contact the local Head of Midwifery [HOM] and request one who will. The HOM's detail can be found by calling the main switchboard of your hospital [the number can be found in your maternity pack or a phone book] and asking to be put through to the Head of Midwifery's office.

Do your research

Avoiding a repeat caesarean is much easier if you have a deep understanding the birth process. Professional organisations such as AIMS [Association for Improvements in the Maternity Services] and ICAN [International Caesarean Awareness Network] can provide you with up-to-date research and continuous support throughout your pregnancy. They can also offer support and advice if you are having any difficulties communicating with your caregivers.

Hire a doula

A doula is a professional birth partner who specialises in helping women to feel encouraged, empowered, knowledgeable and relaxed -- all wonderful ingredients for any good birth experience! Studies have shown that having the support of a doula can reduce the chances of a caesarean birth by up to 50%.

Avoid non-urgent inductions of labour

Some research has suggested that artificial inductions or acceleration of labour can increase the chances of the caesarean scar rupturing or coming apart. It is also associated with a higher rate of failed VBAC. If your doctor has recommended that you have an induction, make sure you understand why they have made that recommendation and ask if there are any alternative courses of action that you try first.

Stay active

Staying mobile during labour can help to speed dilation and encourage your baby to settle into the optimum position for birth. Although they usually offer fantastic pain relief, epidurals will leave you stuck on your back and can also cause your baby's heart rate to slow -- something that could be taken as a sign of uterine rupture, which would require an immediate caesarean.

Forget the clock

Your baby won't be a slave to the clock, so why should you be? Arbitrary time limits will not increase your chances of a successful VBAC, but they can put you under a lot of unnecessary pressure. As long as you and your baby are doing well, there is no need to abandon your VBAC attempt.

Chat with other pregnant mums on our pregnancy forums!

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