VBAC Resources & Tips

By Bridget Basile Ibrahim, PhD, RN 10/9/2020

Considering a VBAC?
Here are some helpful tools for your toolbox:

* Knowledge: learn as much as you can. Knowledge is power, really. Some good sources:
  • International Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN)
  • The VBAC Education Project
  • Know your legal rights as a patient
  • here is a long but excellent resource, if that’s too long, try this
  • The most up-to-date (2019) American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists VBAC guidelines can be found here.
    • An important part to note is: “The following recommendations and conclusions are based on good and consistent scientific evidence (Level A): Most women with one previous cesarean delivery with a low-transverse incision are candidates for and should be counseled about and offered TOLAC (trial of labor after cesarean).” (pg e119)
* Find a VBAC supportive provider with whom you can develop a trusting, supportive, partnership
  • Explore midwifery care: Find a CNM (certified nurse midwife)
  • Homebirth after cesarean (HBAC) is an option that many women have had very positive experiences with. BUT it is not recommended as safe for people who have not given birth vaginally before (either before or after a cesarean). This blog links to a study that describes outcomes for HBAC (paid access only) and summarizes it.
* Consider hiring a doula
  • Find a doula through Doulas of North America (DONA)
  • If cost is an issue: No-cost or low-cost doula services are sometimes available in certain facilities or to certain people; sometimes a doula student will take a client for a lower cost.
* Positive vibes: Surround yourself with positive people, positive affirmations, and positive birth stories
* Emotional processing of your cesarean birth is helpful for many people

If you decide a VBAC isn’t the right choice for you, you might be interested in exploring gentle cesarean birth. Information and sample birth plan for a gentle cesarean.

Tips for moms from moms on VBACs:
We asked moms to share their tips for moms who might be considering a VBAC, here is what they had to say.
  • "3 VBACs. Take classes on Natural Childbirth; read GOOD books on birth (NOT "What to Expect.."), but Ina May Gaskin, Henci Goer, Jennifer Block, and Marsden Wagner; and seriously consider a home birth with a midwife." 
  • "I had two VBAC's. Second was breech. Positive thinking. Prepare your mind. Have a good partner or doula. Take a refresher class. Find a VBAC Support group. Find a doctor, midwife that supports you."
  • "I've had 2 VBACS
    1. Hire a doula that has experience with VBACS.
    2. Hire a doctor you trust to help you through it.
    3. I also recommend self-care. Prenatal massages, chiropractor and pelvic-floor specialist (yes even before birth!)"
  • "1. You can do it!
    2. Hire a birth doula who is experienced with vbacs (I hired one that personally had one)
    3. If you have trauma from you c section, work on that.
    4. Find a provider that knows you can do this and has a high vbac rate.
    5. Get ready to feel empowered!"
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Bridget Basile Ibrahim, PhD, RN

Bridget Basile Ibrahim, PhD, MA, FNP-BC PhD, Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences & Yale School of Nursing. She is also a VBACX2 mom focused on women's experiences of access to VBAC across the U.S. Her ultimate goal is to do research to help all women who desire VBAC to be able to access it.