Thursday, August 11, 2011

a couple thoughts on vbacs

My opinion is that in nearly every case of a physically healthy and mentally prepared pregnant woman, a vaginal birth is completely achievable after a previous cesarean section.  If you don't believe that, then you probably shouldn't try it.  It might be too stressful to be a good experience for anyone.

The one thing I hear people are worried about when attempting a VBAC is that their incision will burst.  There was a time when this did happen to multiple women; and it can be deadly for both the baby and the mother.  But according to my doula instructor (who is also a nurse ... among countless other things), this happened because doctors began trying out cytotec.

Cytotec is a drug that was made for a completely different purpose, but someone noticed that it caused horrifically strong contractions in pregnant women.  Stronger contraction will get the baby out quicker, right?  Well, whether or not that is true, your body can only handle so much.  A weight lifter can only lift so much before they will tear something.  A runner can only run so hard before they will collapse.  And your uterus was built to handle a certain amount of stress.  Drugs can do all sorts of crazy things to make your body change and/or simply ignore the limits that exist to protect it.  While this can be quite useful, it can also be deadly ... as in this case.  This drug caused contractions so strong that the incision burst in laboring women, and also wreaked some serious havoc on those without an incision.

Cytotec now has "Not for Pregnant Women" all over it's labeling, as was shown to me by a midwife recently.  She told me she keeps it on hand in case a woman is bleeding uncontrollably after the birth ... the contractions will close up the uterus and hopefully help stop the bleeding.  "It's something we would do as we were calling 911 at the same time ... I never use it otherwise."

Another newer trend that is contributing to the VBAC fear is that some doctors are favoring a single row of stitches in the uterus, instead of the previously required a double row.  The reasoning is that it is much faster; less time bleeding and having your insides on the outside.  Is it really better?  I don't know, but from what I've been told it's not widely accepted.

Whatever method your doctor may have used in the past, you can't do much about it now.  But there is a lot you can do.  Stay healthy.  Walk, walk, walk.  And learn everything you can.  Read "Understanding the Dangers of Cesarean Birth: Making Informed Decisions".  Scour these websites:

Take control.  Nothing contributes to a successful VBAC more than a prepared, positive mother.


  1. As a mama who has had a successful VBAC, I would scream it from the mountain tops to GO FOR IT! seriously, after having an emergency c-section that totally sent me spiraling into PPD BIG TIME and having to leave my baby at the hospital for 2.5 weeks and then experiencing a beautiful birth where yeah, I felt scared, yeah, it hurt, but it was ah-mazing and my baby latched immediately (first baby did not, sigh...), got to stay in my room with me and left the next day with me. I wasn't in pain for very long... as soon as you are done delivering the placenta and being stitched up (if need be), the pain is gone... you forget how bad it hurt, I heard that my whole life and never believed it until I experienced it myself!

    I could seriously go on and on with the beauty of VBAC and my gratitude for a doctor that not only does this type of delivery but had a successful one herself, but I will stop now. I just like to encourage women as much as I can when I know that they are faced with the decision to try for a VBAC or no. Some women do not want to try, and I respect that... but if you're on the fence... go for it. You won't regret it!

    (congrats on your beautiful baby girl... she's adorable... I came originally from your family blog and just love how happy she looks!)

  2. Thank you! She is quite a sweetheart.

    And I'm loving all the pro-VBAC!! Ladies need to hear it, there's enough fear out there ... lets have some confidence.