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History of VBAC Facts

DSC_0111 headFrom childhood, Jennifer Kamel has held a special interest in childbirth and even considered becoming an obstetrician. However, plans changed when she fell in love with computers and spreadsheets. After a challenging career as a commercial real estate research manager performing demographic research and analysis, she retired in 2004 upon her daughter’s birth. It was at this time that she turned her attention back to her original passion but with a new twist: birth after cesarean.

She spent the next couple years wading through the research on vaginal birth after cesarean and frustration ensued. While she found a plethora of information available on the internet, it wasn’t what she was looking for. She wanted recent studies and analysis. She wanted statistics that were properly cited so she could easily read the original medical studies. She wanted to know the specific rates of complications. She wanted to know how many VBACs were successful and for those that weren’t, what were the outcomes? She wanted to understand the risks of repeat cesareans. She had heard talk about VBAC being illegal in some states or counties. Or that some women opted to have home VBACs. What did that entail?

But there was no one place where she could get all this information. How was she to make this huge medical decision when all the information she wanted was scattered across the internet or deep within medical studies which she had no idea how to access? On top of all that, while her OB said VBAC was a possibility, whenever she mentioned it to anyone, the overall tone was that VBAC was too risky and dangerous and why not just have another cesarean? After all, as she heard time and time again, they are so easy and convenient.

Over the years, she slowly and meticulously collected information. And after her son’s victorious VBAC birth in 2007, she created VBACFACTS.com in order to make the information she had compiled easily accessible to others.

The information provided through this website and the VBAC Classes is intended for general consumer understanding and education only. It is not intended to be, nor is it provided as, a substitute for professional medical advice. Please discuss all your options with your medical provider before making a decision.

All the articles on www.vbacfacts.com are protected under copyright. You are welcome to link to this site, however the information on this site may not be reproduced or republished in any format without written permission.

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35 comments to History of VBAC Facts

  • Hi. Thanks for stopping by my site. I think I found a midwife in Montana, licensed in VBACs, who wants to come over here to Italy! She is sort of retired and that is what she does now: travel the world and deliver babies. I feel so relieved.

  • admin

    Tonya – That is so great! I’m so excited for you! I’ll be reading your blog, so I can share in your journey!

  • ann

    We need help in Arkansas! I am looking for women who could lend support for the women in Arkansas, a STATE where VBAC is almost completely banned. We are trying to fight the ban in our area. Please visit http://www.bringbackvbac.org to find out more about what we are doing and sign our online petition, tell your story on the blog and forum and visit the site often to drive up our hits numbers- the local hospital is checking the site too. Women in my state who have had a c-section face either having a repeat cs or going it alone at home (it is illegal for anyone to attend an HBAC mom) or traveling to another state where they can get a VBAC. Thanks for you support!!

  • Hey, I’m working on a blog just like this, for myself, but I’m wondering if I should just link to yours? Great job here! Maybe I can focus on my doula-in-training blog since you’ve done such fantastic work here. My story could be your story’s twin: C/S for breech presentation for first pregnancy (after planning natural, intervention-free birth with CNM), and now planning an HBAC for our next pregnancy (TTC right now).

  • Do you have an email where I can reach you? I want to send you my hospital’s VBAC ban policy and I have a couple other questions I don’t want to clog up your blog with. You can email me if you want.
    Thanks!
    T

  • Jessica

    I just wanted to thank you for your website. I couldn’t find an email. I have been frequenting this site so much during my pregnancy while I was planning my HBAC. The information you provided me really helped me to be confident in my decision. Unfortunately, after 40 hours of labor with my water broke it was time to transfer to the hospital. There are no hospitals in the area that allow VBACs therefore I was left with no choice but a RCS. So, now I have 2 unnecessary c/s under my belt (literally). It makes me angry. Anyways…thank you so much for your site. I will continue to read and hopefully can come back and tell you I had a beautiful HBA2C in a couple of years!! =)

    Thank you.
    Jessica

  • Cassie

    Hi. I’m a few years off from being ready to have children but I do know this: when the time comes, I want it to be natural and vaginal. My sister thinks that I’m crazy but it just goes to show what kind of society we live in and what it thinks of women. Women are built for birthing and for some reason, we’ve lost sight of that. I’m glad that you have made this website with all kinds of good information and references. I want all women to have the information they are entitled to and to be able to make their own decisions. I am just sick and tired of all the decisions being made for women by “experts.” Again, I appreciate this website very much. Keep up the good work! (Sorry about the little rant.)
    Cassie

  • Jennifer

    Cassie, I’m so excited that you are reading & learning now, years before you have children. So many women wait until they are pregnant before they do any reading and by that time, it’s almost to late. Decisions that determine the outcome of your pregnancy, such as who you hire as your care provider, are made very early in the pregnancy, pre-reading and researching, when most women don’t realize that there is a difference between OBs & midwives. And then when they do learn, they think they are to far along to change OBs or worse, they don’t want to “hurt the OBs feelings.” Thanks for the compliment and share the site with your friends. It’s critical that we reach women before they start having children so we can prevent the unnecessary cesareans because once that surgery is done, as you can see, the battle truly begins.

  • jennifer

    I am ttc #3 currently and instead of being happy about a possible new pregnanct I am terrified that I will have to under go another c-section. I badly wanted to have a vbac with my daughter but my OB shot me down in less then the time it took to ask the question. 1st c-section failure to progress (they induced me 2 weeks early) 2nd daughter was a premie. Is it possible to even do it VBAC? If so are there ways to find docs that will do it? sorry so long just don’t know who else to ask and get a truthful answer …thanks

    jennifer, your risk of uterine rupture does go up after two CS to 0.9% (Landon 2006.) There are OBs in the US who attend VBA2C in a hospital, but they are extremely rare. You will have more options if you consider a homebirth. Go here for more information: http://vbacfacts.com/2008/04/13/the-three-types-of-care-providers-amongst-obs-and-midwives/ Best of luck and I wish you peace. Love, Jen

  • Rumyana

    I’m so happy when I read about HBACs and start crying because so far no luck with my research about MW that will attend HBAC in NJ. All practices that I’ve called advised me to go to a hospital with a MW and I don’t don’t want to do so because I’m 200% sure that the hospital and my OB ruined my birth with my son. I’m still not pregnant and if I don’t find anybody supportive I will adopt, I’m not going through another c-section. Thanks for your site!

    Rumyana, I’m so sorry you are running into dead ends! I feel your frustration! Have you read this page that lists places to find VBAC supportive midwives? Best of luck in your search & keep me posted! Jen

  • Gabriela

    I am so happy to have found this site. I recently had a unplanned c/s. We were planning to have a natural Bradly birth but were surprised to have found out our baby was breech. I changed physicians and have found a MD who is very supportive of VBAC’s. So when the time comes, I know I will have the support I need.

    Gabriela, I’m so glad you found the site too! Learning all the information before you get pregnant is so important. You story sounds a lot like mine. Please keep me posted on any future pregnancies! :) Hugs, Jen

  • Dorothy

    Do you know any ob/gyn, hospital that will allow/help me with vba2c, no prior vb in Dallas TX area?

    Dorothy, I personally don’t know, but if you go here, and go through the list of resources, I hope you will find someone… OB in hospital, local midwife, or traveling midwife. Please let me know if you find someone. I’ll be thinking of you. Best, Jen

  • Megan

    Suggestion – I think this website would be awesome with its own message board. I’m currently 16 weeks pg, planning a VBAC, and have many questions/concerns I’d love to share with other VBAC moms – instead of with others who give a stock standard ‘wtf, you can’t have a vbac, you had a c/s!’ answer… consider it :)

    Megan, That would be very cool. I’m going to do a bit of research. Until then, here are a few places you can go and be supported vs. being the fruitcake of the bunch:
    VBAC Board on Mothering Dot Commune
    BirthAfterCesarean YahooGroup
    ICAN’s Forums
    – On my “Finding a VBAC Supportive OB or Midwife” post, there is a list of resources to find others on-line and in real life

    I hope you are able to connect with other moms. Planning a VBAC in the United States can be a lonely time since 90% of women have a repeat cesarean. I see you are from New Zealand. What are the VBAC rates there? Best, Jen

  • Megan

    Hi!
    not sure what the VBAC rates are here in NZ..much higher than USA though – I know that much – but thats more due to VBAC being well supported by MW’s here, and probably 70-80% of women go with a MW not OB.

  • I have been SO blessed by your website. I had an unnecessary cs almost 6 months ago and have been planning for a vbac with our next baby. I’m not pregnant yet, but the information available on your site has given me the confidence to continue searching and preparing. It’s also been a comfort to my husband who has many fears after our traumatic hospital experience. THANK YOU!

  • Jackie M

    I was so thrilled to see a google ad from your site on my Myspace page tonight!!! YEA!!! Awesome job in spreading the word!!!

  • Laurie

    Do you have any resources to find a hospital and doctor/midwife that does VBACs in VT. I loved reading your home birth story. I would love that for my birth.

    Laurie, I don’t have any specifically for VT, but have you read Finding a VBAC Supportive OB or Midwife? Best, Jen

  • Roseanne B

    Hi…thank you so much for your site! Very informative. I live in Glendale and I had a c-section last year with my first daughter. I went in to be induced even though I wasn’t looking forward to it. No contractions. No mucus plug. No water broken. I guess I just wasn’t ready for labor yet. They hooked me up to an epidural because they said I was going to feel immense pain so I went with it. 26 hours went by and I never dilated so they gave me a c-section at citrus valley medical center. I saw them on your list for high c-section rate. Now, I am pregnant again (a year and a month later) I really want to have a VBAC! Any suggestions? I can see that you have touched many women…any information to spare would be awesome- Rose

    Rose, I started responding to your comment here, and then realized it was getting way to long, so I put my response here: I’m pregnant and want a VBAC, what do I do?. Please stay in touch and let me know how you are doing! Best, Jen

  • Kristen

    Hi. I see you do a lot of research. just wondering, I’m planning a HBA2C in June. My midwife has never taken anyone with a scar that was sutured in one layer, and mine was. The younger docs don’t double layer suture anymore. Do you have any info. I know there are some studies on double vs. single and many aren’t in my favor. but, my doc swears it’s ok. he knows i’ll be home for the (well he thinks most of) birth as well. Any info would be great.

    Hi Kristen! I have a single layer scar and I had my HBAC in November 2007. While there have been studies looking at single vs dual layer suturing, none are large enough to make any definitive decisions. Plus, there are other variables at play, such as the type of suturing material used. For information, read this white paper on the ICAN website by Gretchen Humphries entitled “The Suture Debate.” Best of luck! Jen

  • Emily

    Hello! Although I’m not pregnant yet, I am trying to find information (and a midwife!) ahead of time so I know I make an informed decision and get what I want.

    I had my first son, born via c-section, in May of 2007, and I am hoping to get pregnant for the second time this summer. In my opinion my c-section was unneccesary, but the doctor said because my son was turned sideways I couldn’t deliver him vaginally (I did push for 3 hours). I DO NOT want to go through the trauma (primarily emotional) of a repeat CS.
    My desire is to have a home VBAC, but I am having a lot of difficulty finding out who, if anyone, can/will do this in Illinois. Where can I find information about experiences midwives who will assit in HBACs in IL? I contacted one CNM from Iowa (I live nearly in Iowa, I’m right on the border) & she seemed very pessimistic about HBACs, which I wasn’t expecting from a midwife. I’m starting to realize this may be an uphill battle. Any info would be appreciated!!

  • Gigi

    A wonderful website—I was coerced to a c-secton, when I was told that past 39 weeks all labours are dangerous!
    I was also given horror stories of how babies get stuck down there!! and that a c section is the things to do—my baby was positioned normal….
    I deeply! regret the c section and I am suffering PTSD…..
    That was in the Mitera hospital in Athens, Greece were I later found it has an 80% c section rate!
    Hope sites like this enlighten new mothers!

    PS. Hoping for a VBAC

  • What an informative and encouraging website for mothers who want to try for a VBAC!

    Personally, I would encourage all mothers to try for a VBAC; In my own case, our first one was born by emergency C-Section (decreased fetal movement felt by me at 35wk+6days, confirmed that something was not quite right by severe fetal HR decelerations on admission to the hospital. Our second one (happily)was a VBAC – 18 hours of labor, most of it with backache as the baby was posterior; but managed just fine with minimal intervention from the doctor and hospital staff and a very supportive husband. Our 8lb,2oz baby was born with just a few pushes and no episiotomy. (I did sustain a few perineal tears, but would take that any time over the long, hard, painful recovery post my previous C-section!)

    We returned back to India after having lived for 14+years in the US, and I found that the C-Section rates here were more than 80% in most hospitals! VBACs are almost unheard of. The normal saying here is – “Once a cesarean, always a cesarean”. Planning for a repeat C-Section for mothers with previous C-sections starts automatically in most hospitals at 36 weeks!

    Being passionate about natural childbirth, we (my husband and I) started antenatal Lamaze programs, as well as started working with the odd like-minded doctors/hospitals to try to change the pervasive C-Section culture here. We are slowly, but surely making progress in that area, and now are trying to focus on the area of VBAC as well.

    I would love to link your site to my site and blog; I think a lot of my expectant moms (and dads) will find the information that you have put up here wonderfully useful and encouraging.

    Keep up the good work!
    Dr. Vijaya

    Dr. Vijaya, Wow, automatic repeat cesareans at 36 weeks. This makes me so sad. Please link your blog and site to mine. I would love to be able to reach more women and doctors. Thank you for all your hard work. Best, Jen

  • Jenny Griebenow

    Hi Jen, your site is so great. thanks for all you do!
    Jenny

  • Hi, thank you so much for your site- I am in the process of hopefully persuading an obstetrician in my local hospital to (reluctantly) give his medical backing to my planned vba2c in hospital in July. I was wondering if you knew of any studies re intermittent vs continuous monitoring with which I could further persuade him that I don’t need to be strapped to a bed for the whole labour. Many thanks Kate

  • Brittany Smith

    I live in UT and I want a home birth. I had a cesarean with my first. What state can we have a home vbac in? Is there anything we could do to have a homebirth here? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  • Kim

    806. Jen from vbacfacts.com said:
    I too once thought that homebirth was for grade A whackjobs…
    then I had a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) at home. Recovery was a breeze. Pain from childbirth was nothing like recovering from a cesarean. It was totally manageable. To be drug-free and fully aware and present when my baby was born was priceless. To have him drug-free and fully aware was amazing. To eat and drink immediately after labor … was so satisfying after all that hard work!
    My birth story: http://vbacfacts.com/hbacbirth
    Can’t wait to read part 2!
    Jen
    Per your comment on Dooce’s blog…aren’t you lucky. My niece attempted an HBAC and had a uterine rupture and a dead baby, that’s way harder to recover from than a c-section. Do you love your c-section child less than your HBAC? I think you might from the sounds of things! That too is sad.

    • Jennifer

      Kim,

      It must hurt so much to be a grieving aunt… almost a double loss as you mourn for your niece and also for the baby who died. Just as there is no way to predict who will experience a uterine rupture there is no way to predict who will suffer the consequences of major abdominal surgery.

      Plenty of evidence in documents such as this one indicates that a cesarean is correlated with greater risk of maternal death and infection and increases the possibility of respiratory problems in the newborn. I wish there was a fool proof way to guarantee every woman a safe passage to motherhood and there were no babies to mourn.

      Our love for our babies isn’t dependent on how they are born but the opportunities to hold them, reassure them, and breastfeed them is immeasurably increased when they aren’t separated from us while we are in recovery rooms or adhering to hospital protocols. Forums such as the online community at ICAN are filled with women who have been hurt by their unnecesareans. They do have babies in their arms but are wounded nevertheless. I wish your niece and her family a steady recovery and hope you will be part of her healing process.

      Warmly,

      Jen

  • I wish I had this information when I had to fight my doctor wk 39 of my second pregnancy. Someone recently wrote about my experience and I had to share it with you: http://www.sheknows.com/articles/809508.htm

  • I really found your site useful when planning my VBAC. I successfully argued for intermittent auscultation and refused EFM in a hospital with supportive midwives. The birth went to plan and I wrote about it here.http://cecilypaterson.squarespace.com/why-i-wrote-my-birth-story/?SSScrollPosition=100
    thanks so much.

  • missy

    Hi Jen!
    I was just checking out your sight, I wanted to make sure this was the right one. I think one of my friend from high school is a midwife…I was going to suggest your sight to her. Impressive amounts of info Jen! WOW!!! Good job, my friend! You should write a book! Miss you! The “E” sisters say hello from Texas to your kids.

  • Dear Jen,

    An update from the last time I communicated with you we started our Natural Birthing Center in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad. I am happy to say that our natural birth rates are close to 85%, including an increasing number of VBACs.

    We have linked your site to ours and would look forward to your linking our site to yours so that we can provide mothers and their families with the information and support that they need for a VBAC.

    Dr. Vijaya

  • Candra

    Hello:) i am 37 weeks pregnant and have been planning a vbac but last at weeks appointment i was told that it was too risky. The baby is estimated to be at least 9 lbs and i have a high fluid level of 24 (even though everything i have read says 5-25 is the norm). She has been talking about uterine rupture the entire time but my last appointment pretty much said that a vbac is risking our lives. Do you have any info on high fluid/large baby vbacs? Thank you

    • Jen Kamel

      Hi Candra,

      I do not know the answer to your question. I posted your question on Facebook to get more feedback and possibly some resources that may give you more info. Your best bet is to get a second opinion from a VBAC supportive health care provider.

      Best,

      Jen

  • Candra

    Ok thank you. I am desparately trying to get a different doctor to take me.

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