An advocate claims that the American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists (ACOG) said VBAC after more than one prior cesarean (VBAMC) doesn’t pose an increased risk. A reader contacted me asking if this was correct. It is not. ACOG does not say that because it’s not true.
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?
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.
“I have just seen so many women who have husbands who aren’t supportive because they don’t understand. My husband would love to help more men understand.”
A couple recently shared their VBA2C (vaginal birth after two cesareans) journey with me. It touched my heart. By the time I was done reading it, I had tears in my eyes.
ACOG’s 2010 VBAC recommendations affirm that VBA2C (vaginal birth after two cesareans) is reasonable in “some” women. But they remain silent on VBAMC (VBAC after multiple cesareans.) Some have interpreted that silence to mean that ACOG does not recommend VBAMC, yet ACOG is clear that women shouldn’t be forced to have cesareans.
“There is a major misperception that TOLAC [trial of labor after cesarean] is extremely risky” – Mona Lydon-Rochelle MD, March 2010. “In terms of VBAC, “your risk is really, really quite low” – George Macones MD, March 2010. Both Drs. Macones and Lyndon-Rochelle are obstetricians and researchers who made these statements at the 2010 NIH [National Institutes of Health] VBAC Conference. Now you may think, “Wait a sec. Everything I’ve heard from my family, friends, and medical provider is how risky VBAC is and how cesareans are the conservative, prudent, and safest choice.” Why the discrepancy between the statements of these two doctor researchers and the conventional wisdom prevalent in America?