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Want a VBAC? Ask your care provider these questions.

While there are care providers who may mislead you about your risks, benefits, and options, this article is written assuming that you are meeting with an ethical care provider who supports the option of VBAC.  Read more on how to find a providers like this.

If you are a good candidate for VBAC, the single most important decision you can make that will have the greatest impact on your chances of VBAC success is who you hire to attend your birth.   This is why it’s important to interview several care providers and ask specific questions.

You will often receive different information when speaking to the doctor or midwife directly than you would from the people who answer their phones.  When calling their office, be sure to state that you want to have a consultation.  Ideally, you want to meet in an office, not in an exam room.

Questions You Should Ask

These questions are relevant to all birthing people, VBAC or not.

I think the most important ones relate to going overdue and suspecting a big baby, so I recommend asking those first.

If you want to learn more, check out my workshop “The Truth About VBAC.” There, I translate the evidence on each question so you know how to decode the provider’s response as well as red flags to avoid. In the workshop, I also provide an extensive list of questions for out-of-hospital providers.


What is your philosophy on planned VBACs?

What is your philosophy on planned VBACs going past 40 weeks?

What is your philosophy on suspected “big babies” (macrosomia) among planned VBACs?

How many VBACs have you attended?

Of the last 10 planned VBACs you attended, how many had a VBAC?

What is your philosophy on inducing VBACs?

What is your philosophy on monitoring planned VBACs?

Does your hospital have telemetry (wireless monitoring)? How often is it used?

What is your philosophy on waters being broken for more than 24 hours?

How long do you think it’s safe for VBACs to  labor?

What is your philosophy on epidurals in planned VBACs?

What are your standing orders for planned VBACs and do they differ from your standing orders for first time parents?

How does your on-call schedule work?

What is your cesarean rate?

What are their thoughts on movement during labor and delivery positions?

What is your philosophy on IV or saline lock?

Do you offer family-friendly cesareans?

Special Circumstances

In the event that the baby isn’t head down, do they manually turn babies? (This is called an external cephalic version or ECV.)

Do they attend vaginal breech births? If not, can they refer you to a provider who does?

Do they attend vaginal twin VBACs?

Do you attend VBAC after 2 cesareans?

Do they attend VBACs with a classical (high vertical), T, or J scar?

Do they attend VBACs with a low vertical or unknown scar?


You might have to interview several providers until you find one who is truly supportive of VBAC.

If you do find such a provider, refer all your friends, VBAC or not, to this provider so that they can reap the benefit of someone who supports non-interventive birth!

I really think that true change won’t occur in the medical community in terms of supporting natural non-interventive birth and VBAC until the OBs and hospitals see their revenue decrease.

For this reason, we all need to support OBs, midwives, and hospitals that support VBAC.

13 thoughts on “Want a VBAC? Ask your care provider these questions.

  1. Mindy

    I have three boys, 4, 2 and 13 months. The first and third were emergency c-sections and the middle child was a successful VBAC. Everyone is telling me that I can’t have anymore vbacs because of my second c-section. I’m hopeful that isn’t the answer. But I still want to be safe and have my baby be safe. Our first was a emergency c-section because he was too big and he failed to descend. The third was emergency because of placenta abruption. In both cases, I understand if I hadn’t of done the c-section, I or my babies wouldn’t be here today. So, you can see my concern for maybe trying for another VBAC…. But its finding a doctor who will let me as well. What’s your insight?
    I’m hoping for a VBA2C next time, but i want to be as prepared as I can be before that time comes….Emotionally, Mentally and Physically.
    I have three boys.
    1. Oct. 2011 Emergency c-section after 27 hours of laboring and 4 hours of pushing. He “failed to descend”. He was 9lbs 11.5oz 22 inches long.
    2. Sept. 2013 VBAC. I was induced around 7am and he arrived around 5pm. I pushed for about 3 hours. No assistance needed. Had an epidural. He was 9lbs 12oz. 21.5 inches long .
    3. June 2015 emergency c-section. Began labor on my own this time. Everything was perfect! Until…. I got my epidural and I started feeling sick… they looked at his heart rate… shot me with KETAMINE…. ( yeah….) and did the section. Game over. They said the placenta was beginning to tear away from the uterus.

    Wanting another VBAC. Do you prepare physically??? I was doing 100 sit ups a day right before my VBAC. Maybe I was better fit for labor??? Thoughts….
    I’m in Roy, Utah. Does anyone know of anyone or anywhere that would take me???

    Reply
    1. Jen Kamel Post author

      Hey Mindy!

      Some women with two prior cesareans are candidates for VBA2C per the American College of OB/GYNs. And women with a prior vaginal delivery are considered really good candidates. So unless there is something that risks you out (consult with a medical provider), you should be good!

      I’ve posted your question on my Facebook page to see if any of my readers know of any doctors or midwives.

      Are you able to travel? If so, you have a ton of options.

      Best,

      Jen

      Reply
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  3. Brooke

    I had my son c section induced at 39 weeks. he was 9lbs. I stopped dilating at 4 and that is why I had a c section. My platelets were low throughout my pregnancy and that was the only complication I had. If I was to not be induced 18 months apart from my c section didn’t get the epidural till the very last minute and made sure I could walk around good. do you think that I could do a vbac? I’d really like a natural birth and I think that if my doctor would have gave me time I could have had him natural. What are my chances in having a successful vbac?

    Reply
    1. Jen Kamel Post author

      Brooke,

      I think with a good care provider, you have the odds on your side. I think holding off on the epidural is a great idea – you have more mobility, options, and fewer risks – but remember that if you do get an epidural, that does not mean you failed. <3

      I posted your comment here to get more feedback.

      You are also welcome to join the VBAC Facts Community.

      Best,

      Jen

      Reply
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