Over the course of the past 15 years, I have come across a lot of misinformation about VBAC. All of the myths below have come straight from readers who have asked me, “Is this true?” And every single time, the answer as been, “No.” I thought it was time to pluck out the most pervasive VBAC myths and assemble them into one article… and downloadable handout. These myths cover basic things like uterine rupture rates to difficult topics like death and logistical things like hospital policy. In the end, all of these myths confuse birthing women and people about their options making it impossible for them to make a truly informed decision between vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) and elective repeat cesarean section.
In 2011 a woman with two prior cesareans named Rinat Dray was forced to have a cesarean at Staten Island University Hospital in New York. She sued the hospital and two physicians for ‘improperly substituting their judgement for that of the mother’ and ‘pressuring and threatening her.’ During the course of her lawsuit, it was revealed that this hospital had a secret forced cesarean policy. When I learned about this policy, I was shocked. Yes, forced cesareans happen. They are woven into the culture of some hospitals as are other forms of obstetric violence. But to have a formal, written policy saying that it was OK?
A VBAC study out of Canada reported, “Absolute rates of severe maternal morbidity and mortality were low but significantly higher after attempted vaginal birth after cesarean delivery compared with elective repeat cesarean delivery.” After reading the abstract, and full text, I could quickly see how this study will be misinterpreted by many, so let me walk you through it.