- What is the mission of VBAC Facts?
- What topics does the workshop discuss?
- When and where will the classes be held?
- Can I attend the workshop via a webinar (online class?)
- Is a video of the workshop available?
- Who should attend?
- What is the “couples” ticket?
- Are there any discounted tickets available?
- Is there a special rate for those who have taken the class before?
- Will my husband/boyfriend/male partner be comfortable?
- Can I bring my children?
- Do I need to be pregnant to attend?
- Is the goal of the class to convince women to have a VBAC?
- Does the class offer any continuing education hours?
- What feedback has the class received?
- What do people say about the tone and content of VBAC Facts?
- How far do people typically drive to attend the class?
- Is there financial aid available?
- How can I contribute to the VBAC Facts Scholarship Fund?
- How can I bring “The Truth About VBAC” to my area?
- How can I be notified of future classes?
- What is the refund policy?
What is the mission of VBAC Facts?
Due to the twenty year gap between research and practice, many Americans still think “once a cesarean, always a cesarean,” even though the American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists (ACOG) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) are clear: VBAC is a safe, reasonable, and appropriate option for most women with one prior cesarean and some women with two prior cesareans.
The mission of VBAC Facts is to close the gap between what the best practice guidelines from ACOG and the NIH say about VBAC and repeat cesarean and what people generally believe. While making information relative to post-cesarean birth options easily accessible to the people who seek it, VBAC Facts strives to create a deep understanding of “the why” by providing political and historical context of the current VBAC climate as well as medical and scientific context for understanding obstetrical risk and evaluating birth-related research. VBAC Facts is an advocate for accurate and fair information and does not promote a specific mode of delivery, type of health care professional, or birth location.
What topics does the workshop discuss?
Developed and presented by Jen Kamel, Founder/ Director of VBAC Facts, “The Truth About VBAC: History, Politics & Stats” delivers an evidence-based and unbiased review of interesting, pertinent, and hard to find information relative to post-cesarean birth options. It is a solid 7 hours featuring a fully-cited compilation of statistics, analysis, recommendations, and observations directly from respected medical journals, professionals, and organizations such as ACOG & the NIH.
This comprehensive workshop answers many questions such as:
- What are the current VBAC guidelines?
- Why are VBACs banned in one-half of American hospitals?
- What is uterine rupture and what are the factors influencing a woman’s risk?
- What is the “immediately available” recommendation and how does it impact access to VBAC?
- How can I identify a strong medical study?
- Is it possible to plan a successful hospital VBAC?
- How long should a woman wait after a cesarean until she gets pregnant again?
- How do the risks and benefits of VBAC vs. repeat cesarean compare?
- What are the outcomes for moms and babies?
- What are the risks and benefits of out-of-hospital birth?
- How does mode of delivery impact gut colonization?
- What is the “VBAC double standard?”
- What are the factors for understanding obstetrical risk?
- How do you tell the difference between birth myths, scare tactics, and informed consent?
- What are a patient’s legal rights when it comes to birth?
When and where will the classes be held?
July 2014 – February 2015
Can I attend the workshop via a webinar (online class?)
Absolutely! Webinars are a great way for people around the world to attend the class right from their computer! VBAC Facts webinars do not require you to “call in” to a telephone number resulting in costly phone calls and/or the use of limited cell phone minutes. You can see Jen live and all her slides, hear her voice, ask questions, and interact with other class attendees directly from your computer. You can even enable your webcam, jump on the screen with Jen, and ask your question!
It is recommended that, while attending the class, you connect to your internet source via a network cable and not wifi for the best experience.
The next webinar will be Summer Webinar to be held on Saturday, July 26th and Saturday, August 2nd from 1-4pm PST. A video option is available. Register here.
Is a video of the workshop available?
Is it hard for you to find a 6 hour block of time? For those who work full time, have an unpredictable schedule, or are “simply” busy chasing small kiddos, the VBAC Facts Workshop Video is the perfect way to learn! Those who register will be emailed the link, which is valid for 30 days. You can start and stop all you want and watch it in 15 minute increments if that is what suits your schedule. Each account is allotted with enough time to be able to watch the entire class twice. Continuing education hours can be earned by watching the entire video and returning a completed evaluation form within 30 days of receiving your video links.
Who should attend?
The natural audience of this workshop includes:
- women who have had cesareans, their spouse/partner/support person, and other family members or supportive friends;
- birth professionals such as doulas, childbirth educators, and lactation consultants;
- medical providers such as nurses, midwives and doctors; and
- other professionals such as hospital administrators, lawyers, public health professionals, journalists, academics, and researchers.
What is the “couples” ticket?
The couples ticket offers a discounted rate to the mother and her primary support person whether that is her spouse, significant other, partner, doula, sister, mother, or friend. The couples ticket is a per person rate so two tickets must be purchased.
Are there any discounted tickets available?
Every class offers 10 early bird tickets until 4 weeks prior to the class date or when they sell out. Those that subscribe to the VBAC Facts Newsletter receive priority registration for all workshops. This means they are able to register before registration opens to the public ensuring that they get an early bird ticket.
Those who are taking the class for the second time are eligible for a discounted ticket. Contact VBAC Facts for a coupon code.
Financial aid is available for WIC recipients.
Is there a special rate for those who have taken the class before?
Those who are taking the class for second time are eligible for a discounted ticket. Contact VBAC Facts for a coupon code.
Will my husband/boyfriend/male partner be comfortable?
This workshop is entirely “guy friendly.” There are no pictures or videos of women laboring and, surprisingly, not a whole lot of “vagina talk.” The workshop features many charts, graphs, and numbers and the men who have attended have said that it really helped them frame the issue.
It’s so important for partners to be in agreement on family size and how babies are born because if they are not, it can cause significant strife in the relationship and result in resentment and even betrayal. (Read one father’s experience with VBAC and lessons learned.) When both partners have access to the same information, they are able to review their options and have an intelligent conversation about how they wish to move forward.
Extended family often has an opinion on how a woman chooses to birth. Unfortunately, this advice is often based on a misunderstanding of the facts. When a couple can be an united front, countering all “input” with statistics and resources, it not only benefits the nuclear family, but it also helps dispel the misinformation about post-cesarean birth options that is so prevalent in our society.
Couples of childbearing age are not the only ones who need to understand this issue: grandparents, aunts, and uncles do too as they are important components in a woman’s social support system. The presence or absence of social support is a huge factor in a woman’s decision making process. So when her friends and family are uninformed, it negatively impacts the mother. Making this information accessible, and permitting it to permeate through families and communities, is one of the ways change will occur in our country.
Finally, when guys get this info, they share it with their guy friends. It is so important to educate men as well as women about this topic because because it impacts them too! While childbirth has historically been considered “women’s stuff,” that is changing as men are realizing that what happens to their wives and children is drastically important to them as well.
Can I bring my children?
Nursing babies in arms are OK. Keep in mind that most people find themselves writing notes throughout the class. It might be helpful to bring your husband/partner via the couples ticket so you can switch off baby holding and note writing! If you baby begins crying or is disruptive, you will need to step outside with them until they calm.
Do I need to be pregnant to attend?
If you have had a cesarean and are considering your birth options, the best time to collect information is before you get pregnant. Then you have time to conduct your research and assemble your birth team without a due date looming. That said, it is never too late to learn.
Is the goal of the class to convince women to have a VBAC?
Mothers who are interested in attending do not have to be on the “VBAC track” as the class is not pro-VBAC or only for those already planning a VBAC. As the class does not advocate for a specific mode of delivery and operates from a place of respect, women who are planning or leaning towards a repeat cesarean should not feel like that choice will be belittled, judged, or that the workshop’s objective is to convince them to make a different decision. This is their choice to make with their body and VBAC Facts agrees with ACOG’s assertion that two women can look at the same data and make different decisions. There is not a “right” or “wrong” decision, only what is right or wrong for a specific woman.
More on the class’s tone.
Does the class offer any continuing education hours?
Yes! Those who attend an in-person class, webinar, or watch the video at their own pace (within 30 days of receiving the video link) and return a completed evaluation form, will earn 6.6 continuing education hours from the California Board of Registered Nursing. These CEs are accepted by all RN boards, NARM, ICEA, Lamaze, DONA, and CAPPA as well as many other medical and health organizations.
Not all organizations accept nursing continuing education hours or CEs earned via on-line classes or videos. Check with your particular organization.
Provider approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing, Continuing Education Provider #16238, for 6.6 continuing education hours.
Upon completion of this program, attendees will be able to:
- Assess the quality of medical studies related to post-cesarean birth options and thus identify the strongest evidence,
- Describe the conditions where induction remains an option in a TOLAC,
- Describe the past and current factors that impact access to VBAC in America and brought rise to VBAC bans,
- Describe the factors that influence the rate of uterine rupture and VBAC success rates while understanding that there is no accurate “VBAC calculator” that can predict an individual woman’s success,
- Describe ACOG’s and the NIH’s stance on post-cesarean birth options.
There is a lot of confusion about what to call continuing education credits. Many people refer to them as CEUs, but only colleges and universities actually issue continuing education units. Dynamic Nursing Education clarifies:
[There are] common misunderstandings when it comes to the abbreviations [used to reference] continuing education for nurses, nursing continuing education CEs and CEUs. Nurses need Contact Hours or CEs to renew their nursing license. Nursing CEUs is often a misused abbreviation for Contact Hours. As stated by every BRN and accrediting body; a CEU is a Continuing Education Unit which is generally equal 10 Contact Hours or CEs and a CE is a widely accepted abbreviation for Contact Hour which represents 1 hour of lecture or study material. However, often times Nursing Continuing Education Providers use Nursing CEU when they should be using Nursing CE to represent the number of Contact Hours their course offering is worth. Basically, the only places that you can obtain CEUs are Colleges and Universities for classes that nurses take for undergraduate work as well as graduate work, not an individual course offering by a Continuing Education Provider. To summarize, almost all of the time when you see CEU being used it is being used inappropriately and those providers need to use the appropriate abbreviation, CE. Please be aware that; if for example you take a course through a Continuing Education Providers and their brochure and certificate states that their course is approved for 8 CEUs; what they really mean is that their course is worth 8 CEs or 8 Contact hours, not 80 CEs. We hope this helps clarify continuing education for nurses.
What feedback has the class received?
“Excellent presentation, Jen keeps you pulled into the facts, and presents them in such an interesting way, and with a lot of laughter. The VBAC community is blessed to have someone so talented presenting these facts, not in a dry monotone, but in a way that keeps the audience engaged.” – Rita, Registered Nurse
“Thank you so much for your wonderful workshop. I have to say, honestly, I was coming into this workshop thinking I knew a lot about VBACs already. I wasn’t sure how much I would learn from it. Well, you blew my mind! I’m so grateful to be connected with you!” – Gwendolyn, Doula
“For practitioners or for women exploring their options after cesarean, Jen Kamel’s VBAC Facts Class is a must. VBAC is unique in that you have to understand more than just the science in order to wade through the myths and misinformation, and here is thorough, unbiased, and hard-to-find information on the subject as a whole: science, history, and politics. I wish every OB, L&D nurse, and midwife out there could sit through this class — and, even more important, that every woman out there who has had a cesarean had the opportunity to get the truth about what her options are and why they may be so artificially limited. This class has the power to change how we think about VBAC.” – Cristen Pascucci, Vice President, ImprovingBirth.org
“Bravo! I absolutely loved the VBAC Facts Class– I learned SO much! Jen does an amazing job of summarizing the latest evidence on VBACs and repeat Cesareans in a way that is easy to understand. I also loved when she talks about informed consent versus scare tactics, how to find a supportive care provider, and how to prepare for a hospital VBAC. If you’re worried that Jen is going to try and talk you into a VBAC– well, that’s not how she does things. In this class, Jen simply presents accurate facts and lets the evidence speak for itself. Every woman and family needs to make the decision that is best for them. In this class, Jen has created a non-judgmental environment for people who are exploring their options. I strongly recommend this class to anyone who is interested in learning about VBAC!” Rebecca Dekker, PhD, RN, APRN, Founder, Evidence Based Birth. Read Rebecca’s entire review.
“I truly enjoyed your VBAC class (even with all the crazy math you made us do, lol). Having had a previous natural VBAC and working with many, many wonderful VBAC hopefuls, your class shed a lot of light to many shady areas when it comes to VBACs and the OBs/Hospitals who refuse (or encourage) them. I love your delivery, your humor, and your ability to deliver both the pros and cons of such a sensitive topic. I am REALLY excited about your class being held for the staff at the hospital and hope that it opens some eyes and makes some people go ‘hmmmmm?’ because it is what they need. What WE need… The VBAC world is a better place because of you, Jen. Please don’t stop encouraging, researching and fighting. I look forward to seeing you again.” – Rachele Koprowski, Live, Love, Doula”
“This webinar was just as valuable for me as it was to sit in four years of midwifery school!! You did an incredible job Jen and I just want to thank you again for all of the trillions of little (and big) labors of love (that I can only imagine) that went into birthing this. Everything you have pulled together is priceless and as a birth professional, brings a huge sigh of relief to me to know that others are out there just as passionate and just as dedicated to educating the people. This makes *my* work much easier as a birth professional.” Serena Lynch, Midwife
“Thanks so much for an awesome class! I want to tell mamas… please don’t be afraid to look at the stats. They do support what we intuitively know. Our bodies are made to give birth. Even in a climate that is unfavorable the majority of women who attempt VBAC are successful. Imagine what we can do as we spread the information, change this climate, and become empowered birth consumers. The conditions will become more favorable and that can only produce positive results for us. Share stats. Take classes like this and share them with other women. That is empowerment. These stats prove to me that I can trust my body. We are all at different places when it comes to accepting and evaluating risks. What might seem risky to one mama, might not to me or you. That is why this info is a must. Full knowledge can promote emotional healing and empowerment among birthing women. We can demand evidence based care. We can be familiar with the stats. We can go into our VBAC intuitively and trusting. This is not an one way or the highway game. This is a you know what is best for you scenario. As someone who works with emotional, mental, spiritual preparation for VBAC and birth quite often, I love the marriage to the intellectual preparation. They are great team members. Ok… probably don’t make a lick of sense, but I’m pumped. Thanks!” – Kelli B. Haywood, Educator and Birth Doula at Birth True Childbirth Education
“Thank you Thank You THANK YOU! Jen, I just LOVED The Truth About VBAC Webinar we finished up today [November 17, 2012]. I am definitely an advocate of following your intuition and trusting innate maternal wisdom, but knowing this information will help cast away those doubts about what moms’ bodies are capable of. A cesarean is not the ‘birth handicap’ we are led to believe it is by the mainstream. I encourage all doulas and childbirth educators and VBAC seeking moms and partners to take this class, capture this information and use it to win support from your birth team. You can VBAC with confidence having the data to reference, and Jen did an amazing job putting it all together in a clear manner, looking at the issue from myriad perspectives. Bravo Jen . . . well done!” -Jenn D’Jammos, CCCE at Earth Mama Birth
“Jen’s VBAC Facts webinar is interesting, organized, and most importantly, evidence-based! Some of my favorite parts included the many charts Jen created, which illustrate statistics regarding Cesarean section and VBAC in the U.S. I’m a visual learner, and putting those numbers in perspective really made it click for me. This class would be a great fit for parents, educators, doulas, and any health professional working with mothers and babies. A fabulous educational opportunity!” – Lindsey Rupp, CD(DONA), CLS, PCD (DONA) at Blissful Transition Doula Services
“I teach my clients and students that educating themselves is one of the most powerful paths to freedom. When it comes to birth—whether or not a woman is planning a VBAC–information is power. Jen Kamel has a masterful understanding of the research and she delivers it to mothers and birth workers in a clear, accessible, and applicable way. Thanks to Jen and www.VBACfacts.com this powerful body of knowledge can be used by all of us to cultivate the best possible birth experiences.” — Christy Diane Farr, Life Coach with Seeds and Weeds Coaching
“This class is all about the facts. It is low pressure. It gives you information from scientific journals that will help you make the best decision for you and your baby. At the end, you get to decide which set of risks you are willing to accept. It opened my husband’s eyes. Even though I’ve been telling him, he needed to hear the research and the numbers. Thank you!!!” — Mom seeking VBA2C
“Thanks for an outstanding class! It was very nice meeting you. Your hard work and dedicated research is incredibly impressive. Knowledge is Power, wish it would rub off on the whole OB community. I think the trend to eventually turn that direction for women’s choice of birth options will happen as more people put that kind of pressure on the issue. Bravo to you!” — Labor & Delivery Registered Nurse seeking VBA1C
“My husband and I certainly felt even more confident after the class. I would definitely recommend it to anyone considering a VBAC.” — A mom planning VBA1C
“Jen Kamel blew me away with the personable nature in which she delivered stats and figures. She clearly explained how women can use them to understand their options. I wish every person out there who feels strange when dealing with the numbers vs intuition question would take this class and get a good look at what the integration of the two looks like.” — Shannon Mitchell, Doula & Birth Advocate
“What an amazing and informative presentation!! Thank you so much for doing this ever-important work for birthing women!!! ” — Teresa Stire, PhDc, MA, student midwife, and VBA3C mom
What do people say about the tone and content of VBAC Facts?
VBAC Facts has a well earned reputation as an unbiased source of information that simply shares the facts.
“Jen I have mad respect for you. I send the link to your site to all moms who show an interest in having a vbac. I like the non biased information, it’s straight forward and simply awesome how you break the information down for women.” – SJM
“I always refer people who are looking for VBAC info to your site. You have the most comprehensive, non-biased, research-based information out there!” – A
“I really respect what you do. I’ve read things on your site that have ‘disappointed me’ because they weren’t the answer that I wanted to hear, but after reading your sources, I know they are *accurate* and that I can trust you give valid, sound info and resources. (also, I’ve read many things on your site that have delighted me as well!) so thanks for running a site that I feel I can actually trust and share with others.” – SG
“And THIS is exactly why I refer people to your (and KMom’s) sites. So appreciate the balanced approach. It’s so hard to find on both sides–I see exaggerations of risks bolstered with tragic stories and I see minimizing and downplaying of risks as well. Neither is truly helpful to a mother trying her best to make an evidence based decision. So again, thank you!” – MOS
“Jen, thank you so much for your commitment to facts and evidence based information. We get angry at the OBs who don’t give it… we should hold ourselves to the same standard.” – MBH
“Ya know Jen, I just have to thank you! I attended your VBAC seminar in 2010 (in Temecula) and that was the start to my journey of research. Your medical facts and research from the medical books/ journals…etc, was exactly what every VBAC mom needs to hear.” – AM
How far do people typically drive to attend the class?
The average person who attends the in-person class drives 47 minutes one way. 16% drive between 1 – 2 hours and 9% drive over two hours! So don’t let distance be a barrier to learning. That said, remember that the webinars are available so you can take the class from the comfort of your home and have a 30 second commute from the coffeepot to your computer.
Is there financial aid available?
There are a limited number of discounted tickets per class for WIC recipients (mother receiving WIC and her support person.) Financial aid tickets cannot be sold to transferred to another person. For more information, please contact VBAC Facts.
How can I contribute to the VBAC Facts Scholarship Fund?
Even though VBAC Facts is not a non-profit organization, financial aid is available for WIC recipients. The VBAC Facts Scholarship Fund was established in January 2013 and is made possible by generous supporters who wish to make the class available to a larger audience that may not otherwise be able to attend. When the fund depletes, financial aid will no longer be available, but you can help this program stay viable by making a contribution. Please note that as VBAC Facts is not a non-profit organization, your contribution is not tax deductible.
Scholarship recipients share why this program is important:
“I would love to actually experience the birth of my second child and the days following, instead of being incapacitated with pain and barely able to sit up to nurse my baby. This gives me the excitement and hope of a second chance to give birth naturally. ” – Mom with a prior cesarean & scholarship recipient, California
“I am so extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to attend the VBAC class. My first baby was born in April by a c-section. When the hospital staff came in to inform us that the doctor would want to do a cesarean, I burst into tears. My husband was also concerned as we knew we wanted lots of children and we were both informed that more than 3 c-sections was highly discouraged, and VBACs were rarely supported. My experience was very traumatic, so learning everything I could about VBAC births became a passion, as I was determined to prevent the same outcome for my future children. Thanks to the VBAC class, and Jen’s presentation, we now know more about VBACs than ever, and both my husband and I feel comfortable and confident with our choices that will affect our future births. We never would have had this amazing opportunity if it wasn’t for the scholarship fund. My husband is a student, so finances wouldn’t have allowed for either of us to attend otherwise. I am so immensely grateful. The information from this class has changed the way we will birth. Thanks Jen!” – Kearsten, Los Angeles, California
How can I bring “The Truth About VBAC” to my area?
Jen loves to travel and share her class! If you are interested in hosting a class in your area and earning a little money for yourself or your organization along the way, please review the Local Sponsor Agreement for more details.
All Sponsors must read the following documents to familiarize themselves with the content and tone of the workshop, Jen’s background, and the history of VBAC Facts:
- The VBAC Facts Workshop Class Page & Reviews (which is this page that you are reading now),
- Some people think I’m anti-this/ pro-that: The VBAC Facts advocacy style, and
- The History of VBAC Facts
After you sign the Sponsor Agreement, Jen will create and supply you with various marketing materials. See samples here. You will also be invited to join a group of current and mentor Local Sponsors who can give you ideas, encouragement, and materials on how to plan and market a successful event.
How can I be notified of future classes?
Subscribe to the VBAC Facts Newsletter and receive notice of new classes as well as the opportunity to register before the public. Your information will never be leased or sold and you can unsubscribe at any time. And no worries, you will not receive several emails a week.
What is the refund policy?
A full refund, minus a $25 processing fee, will be provided upon request up until four weeks before any class begins. After that time, the only refundable absence is the attendee’s presence at a birth. When class is missed for any other reason, attendees are welcome to take a future class (either an in-person or on-line class) or watch a video of a previously recorded class.