A reader asks, “Am I making the right choice?”
Isha recently left this comment:
I am pregnant and plan on having a VBAC. As my due date gets closer, I get more nervous about it. I hope I am making the right choice in having the VBAC.
I too wondered if it was unreasonable to plan a VBAC when I had my cesarean. And that is when I started researching.
My obstetrician said I was a great candidate for VBAC. In fact, it’s one of the first things I remember him telling me after my cesarean. But when I talked to my friends and family they were confused… and concerned.
All they had heard was how dangerous VBAC was and how convenient, easy, and safe cesareans were. So why would my OB tell me that I was a good candidate? Doesn’t everyone have repeat cesareans? What about “once a cesarean, always a cesarean?”
The discrepancy between what my doctor said and what my friends and family said was enough to propel me on my journey to the facts and then creating VBAC Facts so other people could easily access the evidence too.
Not wishing thinking. Not fear mongering. There’s enough of that out there. But the actual, straight facts directly from the medical literature.
How I boosted my VBAC odds
Here’s how my brain works: What makes me scared is the unknown, so I found that learning about the risks and benefits of VBAC versus repeat cesarean gave me a lot of peace.
It gave me a solid foundation from which to make a truly educated decision. It gave me confidence and peace.
And it also made it clear what I needed to do to boost my VBAC odds which accepting what was outside of my control.
It enabled me to be kind to myself. So many cesarean parents feel broken. Like their body failed them or their body just doesn’t work.
I wanted to create space for the truth: There are a lot of things we can control. But there are some things we can’t.
Finding peace about repeat cesareans
Learning what I could control, and making the best choices for me, set myself up for success.
But I also learned that even if I made all the “right” decisions, I could still have a repeat cesarean.
That truth was not a reflection on me, my body, my value, or my worth. Sometimes repeat cesareans are needed. That’s all it meant.
Given that I felt like I had done everything in my power to boost my VBAC odds, I felt like I could relax into that possibility. Knowing that I controlled everything I could while releasing everything I couldn’t control.
The best piece of advice I received
After I learned the facts, one of the best pieces of advice I received was to “try on” the two different choices.
For a few days, decide to plan a VBAC. Give your heart and mind an opportunity to sink into that decision.
Then check in with yourself: How do you feel? What emotions are coming up for you? Do you feel settled or uneasy?
Then do the same with a repeat cesarean. Try that decision on for a few days and note how it makes you feel.
The best way to learn the facts
Now I spent years learning how to evaluate medical research and then compiling it and distilling it for my own use. So, I don’t recommend starting from scratch and culling through all the literature yourself because it will take forever… believe me, I know.
If I could have attended a class like my “The Truth About VBAC for Families” and just had all the information given to me, I would have jumped at the chance.
Because it’s not just all the things that are floating around in your mind right now. The specific questions you know to ask.
It’s also all the questions you don’t even know to ask. All the things you don’t know you don’t know.
What I learned during my journey is how much I didn’t know. How much my friends and family didn’t know. And frankly, the massive gap between what most physicians say and the conclusions of medical research.
80% risk of uterine rupture after two cesareans?
A reader told me how her obstetrician claimed to be quoting “ACOG’s uterine rupture statistics” when they said the risk of uterine rupture was 80% after two prior cesareans.
To be clear, ACOG says the risk is 0.9 – 3.7%. Nowhere near 80%.
But unless people know what ACOG says, physicians can say whatever they want – and some do. This deprives birthing people from the right to make their own medical decisions based on the evidence.
80% is frightening. I’m sure that physician has many clients who “choose” a repeat cesarean after a VBAC consult with them. But is it a real choice at that point? No.
Some obstetricians knowingly mislead because while they claim they are supportive of VBAC, they really prefer their clients to schedule repeat cesareans. Others don’t know any better or just haven’t made the time to review ACOG’s guidelines and the research.
There is a lot of information available here, but if you want to get up to speed quick, if you want the complete picture, check out my training because it’s the most comprehensive course out there for families planning or considering VBAC.
It weaves together the most relevant medical facts – like everything you want to know about VBAC and repeat cesarean outcomes, risks, and benefits. We also cover home and community VBAC, the truth about VBAC bans, as well as the questions I get asked the most by people just like you.
After completing the course, you will be clear on what is right for you. That might be a VBAC. Or it might be a repeat cesarean. There’s no judgement here. Just what is right for you.
You will also be able to talk to anyone at anytime about VBAC and repeat cesareans and feel completely confident in that discussion because you will have the facts at the ready to dispel any misinformation flying your way.
I wish you well on your journey and best of luck!
What do you think?
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What do you think? Leave a comment.
As a nationally recognized consumer advocate and Founder of VBAC Facts®, Jen helps perinatal professionals, and cesarean parents, achieve clarity on vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) through her educational courses for parents, online membership for professionals, continuing education trainings, and consulting services. She speaks at conferences across the country, presents Grand Rounds at hospitals, advises advocates seeking legislative change in their state, and serves as a expert witness in legal proceedings. She envisions a time when every pregnant person seeking VBAC has access to unbiased information, respectful providers, and community support, so they can plan the birth of their choosing in the setting they desire.