VBAC calculators have been embraced with open arms by some providers, whereas others reject them altogether. Who’s right? Trying to predict who will have a VBAC is tricky. We know some individual factors, such as having a prior vaginal delivery, are associated with higher or lower VBAC rates. By combining various factors, VBAC calculators generate a percentage that represents the best guess for an individual’s odds of having a vaginal birth after cesarean. But VBAC calculators, also called VBAC success calculators, are not always accurate and can create emotional baggage.
Planning a VBAC can be an emotionally victorious or tenuous time for parents. Or a mixture of the two. What parents planning VBACs really need is to feel heard, supported, and respected. The challenge is, they don’t know who to trust or to whom they can open their heart. Fortunately, there are a variety of subtle ways you can signal to them that you are someone who truly supports VBAC.
In an attempt to validate parents, some perinatal professionals tell parents who have had a cesarean, “It’s still a birth.” And I get where they are coming from. Their desire to affirm to the parent that they still birthed a baby and that this is a happy moment. Here’s the rub and where unintended consequences come into play: As a cesarean parent, I did not feel like my cesarean was a birth and having someone tell me, “No really, it is,” would have felt really dismissive and invalidating despite the good intentions at play.
When I found out that ACOG released their new guidelines yesterday, I couldn’t wait to devour them. This morning, I had an opportunity to cuddle up with the new recommendations and I’m quite pleased. As always, there are things to like and areas where I think ACOG missed the mark. But here are the eleven good things about ACOG’s 2017 VBAC guidelines.