There are a ton of resources to find a good, truly VBAC supportive, OB or midwife. If you know of any others, please leave a comment with the info!
- The VBAC Facts Community
- The Birth Survey
- ICAN email support group
- Birth After Cesarean email support group
- Your local ICAN chapter
- The ICAN Professional Subscribers list
- VBAC Meetup Groups
- Mothering.com VBAC Forum
- AP Doctor Referral yahoogroup
- The Big Push for Midwives – Resources by State
- Your local La Leche League chapter
- Your local Holistic Moms chapter
- Attachment parenting groups
- Extended breastfeeding groups
- Local homeschooling groups
- Find a VBAC supportive hospital
Note that some of the groups are not explicitly about childbirth, however, there is a tremendous amount of overlap between say, those who homeschool and those who VBAC or have homebirths. Also, those who have unmedicated births, or VBAC, or homebirth, are more likely to breastfeed beyond the first year, which is called ‘extended breastfeeding,’ and go to La Leche League meetings. They are also more likely to seek out fellow crunchy moms at Holistic Moms groups or attachment parenting groups.
You might have never considered yourself ‘crunchy’ because you think that only hippies are crunchy, but rest assured, VBACs, homebirth, homeschooling, and extended breastfeeding are things that appeal to the super liberals, the super conservatives, and everyone in between. No matter where you are on the political spectrum, you will find someone just like you in these groups.
Also keep in mind that there are traveling midwives, so if there are no care providers in your area, this is an option. Check out the ICAN email support group for referrals.
Once you have found a provider, you are going to want to ask a ton of questions. Call and make an appointment to discuss VBAC. Don’t go in for an exam and try to have an intelligent conversation while sitting on an exam table with no underwear on wearing a thin paper gown. This is not a position of power. Remember, you are hiring someone to support you with your VBAC. Please interview at least as many vendors as you would to paint your house or install your air conditioning. This is a huge decision and you will be very happy if you take the extra time to screen your care provider.
I have a list of the questions I find particularly important because the one big thing you want to avoid is the old ‘bait and switch.’ This is when an OB or midwife essentially leads you on. They act all supportive of VBAC in the beginning, but as time goes on, they start to change. They want to do an ultrasound to make sure the baby isn’t ‘to big.’ They start to talk more and more about uterine rupture. They want to schedule that repeat cesarean at 39 or 40 weeks, just in case you don’t go into labor – even though I have yet to meet a woman who was pregnant forever. This happens all the time. All you have to do is join the ICAN email support group to find woman after woman after woman who experienced just this and end up racing around at 37 weeks trying to find a new provider – not an easy task. So grill that provider! Make sure that they are truly supportive and you do this, not by just using your GYN because you like them, but by searching, interviewing, and actively SELECTING your care provider. This is why finding someone through referral is an extra bonus. You can no only get info from the care provider, but since you know someone who has already labored with them, you can get detailed info on how they really act.
Since finding a care provider is one of the critical decisions in working towards a VBAC, I would recommend starting your search before you even become pregnant. That way, you don’t have the crazy emotions of pregnancy pumping through your bloodstream and you can be a little more rational. You also won’t feel like you are on a timetable or be fighting morning sickness and exhaustion. And won’t it feel nice to have all your ducks in a row so when that little plus sign appears, you feel excited and supported? But, if you are already pregnant and looking, it’s not to late. Take the time to find a provider, you won’t regret it!