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How to best connect moms with VBAC supportive practitioners?

I’ve been home for 6 days and I have yet to post anything about the NIH.  I have been so crazy busy updating the bibliography (check out the fancy pants APA format) and trying to add as much information from the NIH conference as possible into the VBAC class I taught this past Sunday.   All the midst of trying to manage my little man who I hoped would night wean (HA!) and feared would wean entirely (DOUBLE HA!) during my four days away only to return and realize that he fully intended to make up for lost time.  Trying to prep for the class, synthesize all the information from the NIH, and then come up with something remotely intelligent and articulate to say, is really hard when my toddler was intent on yet another round of gymnastic nursing anytime I sat down.

So here I am, with kids asleep, and I finally get to finish one of the many posts I have started over the last 9 days.  These moments are so few and far between.  It is seriously so luxurious to be able to sit in the quiet and write.  In short, I need your help.

I was beyond thrilled to be at the NIH in the same room as so many vocal and passionate VBAC supportive care providers.  It occurred to me how there are certainly women in their same communities who didn’t even know these fantastic resources existed.  Unfortunately, there wasn’t a list of attendees released for the conference and I continue to receive pleas for referrals from women who cannot find a care provider such as Jessica in Pittsburgh, Maggie in Arizona, and Heidi in Athens, Ohio.

Ever since I started vbacfacts.com over two years ago, many have suggested that I post the names of supportive care providers.  While I do write about care providers who are themselves vocal, I am hesitant to bring public attention to others who discretely support VBAC.  Many practitioners are under considerable pressure from multiple sources such as hospital administrators as well as peers within their practice, hospital, or community.  Then we have midwives who work “under the radar” in states where it is not legal for them to attend births and/or VBACs yet they do so because women in their communities do not have hospital-based options.

While I desperately want to connect women with care providers, I don’t want to bring excess, and possibility negative, attention to a practitioner who, unbeknownst to me, is already under hefty pressure as this might interfere with, or ultimately bar, their ability to attend VBACs at all.

I started creating a database so that practitioners, particularly those who attended the NIH VBAC conference, could volunteer their names and contact information.  I would try to mitigate the attention factor by offering to privately maintain their information on my computer’s hard drive in addition to providing the option of publishing their information publicly on vbacfacts.com. I could then reference the private database as individual women contacted me for referrals.

But before I start such an endeavor, I wondered if there was a better way to go about this.  And so I’m looking for your suggestions.  How I can use this forum as a way to facilitate connecting supportive care providers with moms without bringing potentially harmful attention their way?  Is there even a way to do it?

If you are reading this and wonder, “What’s so hard about finding a VBAC supportive care provider?” permit me to share the story of Brooke Addley from northeastern Pennsylvania.  She asked her current OB his thoughts on VBAC and received so much false information, as typically happens, that it left her in tears.

Women are frequently provided with inflated and inaccurate uterine rupture, infant mortality and maternal mortality rates by their OBs when they breech the topic of VBAC.  It is heartbreaking because women are making major medical decisions, which impact their future health and pregnancies, based on outright lies.

Scare tactics masquerading as informed consent is a major problem.  Somehow, we have to find a way to connect women with supportive care providers in their area.  Please leave a comment or email me with your ideas on how we can do that.

Learn more about finding a supportive care provider:

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8 comments to How to best connect moms with VBAC supportive practitioners?

  • Answering this question is the focus of the work I’m doing with online communities and social media. The good guys, the providers who respect birthing women, need to be online, and they need the best SEO they can get, so that they are easier to find, because the fact is, most young birthers go online to find their local resources. Since hospitals usually think to afford pros to do their SEO, they come up on top, and another generation is fed to the machine. My dream is to get every single good OB (who still manages to practice), and every midwife, to be out there, blogging, facebooking, twittering, and in all other ways engaging with social media, so that not only are they findable by women, but they’ve got an online history that women can research in advance, to help them in finding providers they resonate with.

  • Jennifer

    I found that when I was active on the ICAN list, there was a lot of exchange of “reviews” (so to speak) of care providers. I’d suggest a woman speak to her local ICAN chapter who could provide her not only with a recommendation for a VBAC-friendly provider but could support her through her journey.

  • I can tell you that north east PA is not very VBAC friendly at all. I’ve known several women who have driven down to my area (Allentown, PA) to birth in order to find supportive care providers. I’ve even had some first time moms drive down here.

    I can see your point with not wanting to “out” care providers who are trying to keep a low profile. Its a hard one. Janelle over at Birth Sense posted just before the NIH conference about how a care provider who is supportive of VBAC often finds herself swamped with women desiring VBAC, and due to the requirement to be in-hospital for the whole labor…can find it very difficult to maintain a practice. Sigh.

  • ZenMama

    Our local ICAN chapter (ICAN of Syracuse) is always a helpful resource for care provider reviews & support. I’m pretty sure the main ICAN website also has a database where consumers can leave feedback about their experiences with different doctors (the list is by facility, not by care provider, but just choose the facility that a care provider delivers at or transfers to & leave a comment)

  • wantvba2c

    Not everyone has a local ICAN chapter. I would love to see a good answer to this question. I live in a small city where I know the hospital’s unwritten policies and attitudes firsthand (I am a nurse and did my OB training there) I would be willing to travel to get the support I deserve, but I have no idea how to find a supportive provider anywhere!

  • I think introducing additional pages to websites where VBAC friendly midwives and OB’s can put their contact information in would be a great idea!

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