If you want a VBAC, ask your doctor or midwife 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
The key to all of these questions is that they are open ended. The trick is to ask the question and then sit back and really listen.
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 your thoughts on movement during labor and delivery positions?
What is your philosophy on IV or saline lock?
Do you offer family-friendly cesareans?
In the event that the baby isn’t head down, do you manually turn babies? (This is called an external cephalic version or ECV.)
Do you attend vaginal breech births? If not, can you refer me to a provider who does?
Do you attend vaginal twin VBACs?
Do you attend VBAC after 2 cesareans?
Do you attend VBACs with a classical (high vertical), T, or J scar?
Do you attend VBACs with a low vertical or unknown scar?
Ok, you have your list of questions… what now?
Knowing what questions to ask is just one part of the process. How to do you know what answers to look for?
Well, that’s the next step.
In order to know how the answers you receive line up with the evidence, you have to actually know what the evidence says.
And most parents and professionals don’t have the time or interest to dive into the research. Or the process feels overwhelming so they don’t take the first step.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
In my online trainings for parents and professionals, I’ve done all the work for you. I translate the evidence on each question so you know how to decode the provider’s response as well as red flags to avoid.
Click here to learn more and get started.
What do you think?
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What do you think? Leave a comment.
Jen Kamel is the founder of VBAC Facts, an educational, training and consulting firm. As a nationally recognized VBAC strategist and consumer advocate, she has been invited to present Grand Rounds at a hospital, served as an expert witness in a legal proceeding, and has traveled the country educating hundreds of professionals and highly motivated parents. Even more have accessed her trainings online. She speaks at national conferences and has worked as a legislative consultant in various states focusing on midwifery legislation and regulations. She has testified multiple times in front of the California Medical Board and legislative committees on the importance of VBAC access and is the Secretary for the California Association of Midwives and the California Association of Licensed Midwives. Her favorite flavor of ice cream is peanut butter chocolate. And mint chip. And coffee.