Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Being Informed

I wanted to be someone who took the time to be informed on the subject of VBAC. Of course I had heard different ideas and I wanted to have the knowledge so when I heard inaccurate information I would know the truth.

I had done plenty of research along the way and was knowledgable and informed about VBACs. I was so thankful to have supportive midwives. I know of so many doctors that use scare tactics to discourage a women from considering a VBAC. Our countries cesarean rate is outrageous and I am saddened that so many women are not allowed to have a natural birth. Doctors are so quick to stress the risks of having a VBAC but don't mention the risks of a c-section. Did you know there are more risks in having a repeat c-section than there are in having a VBAC?

I am going to list some of the ideas I had heard and what I learned through research. I'm sure many of you have heard these same things so hopefully what I learned will help you too but of course I also encourage you to do your own research too.

#1 "Once you have a c-section you always have to have a c-section"---this of course is not true. Chances are you will be able to deliver your next baby vaginally. According to more than 80% of women will have successful VBACs.

#2 "They tell me the baby is too big or my pelvis is too small"---True Cephalopelvic disproportion or CPD---where the baby is thought to be too big to fit through the pelvis--is very uncommon. According to Dr. Sears, "in most cases the births could just as easily been labeled failure to progress." Better positions such as being more upright, and squatting can enlarge the pelvis making it easier for the baby to find a way out. Many experts believe a true diagnosis can only be made after laboring for awhile any ways. To go along with this I have heard many stories of women who were told their baby is too big and had a c-section only to have a VBAC with the next child and delivery a much bigger baby. Also doctors may rely on ultrasounds and say the baby is too big when ultrasounds are not very accurate and can be a pound or more off. Since they are so inaccurate you should not be told you need a c-section because of the size of your baby.

#3 "Your uterus will rupture"---Most incisions now are made low and transverse (horizontal) and are very unlikely to rupture. It is now estimated uterine rupture occurs in less than 0.2%. Even though the term sounds scary, it does not mean your uterus suddenly explodes. What can happen is the previous scar gradually pulls apart. There are signs if this is happening and it can be detected by electronic fetal monitoring. This risk is so small, having a VBAC is still less risky than having a c-section.

#4 "It is safer to have a C-section, VBACs are dangerous"---According to the Birth Book by Dr. Sears "researchers studying the medical literature on VBAC over the last 40 years found not a single mother died from uterine rupture but mothers have died due to complications of repeat c-sections. The estimated risk of death from c-section is around one in one thousand, which is two to four times that of vaginal births."

These are just some of the reasons you might hear as people try to misinform you with reasons to not do a VBAC. If you have experienced any of these or other misguided information that you have heard or overcome please share your story so others won't be misguided. As I said before I encourage you to do your own research that way you too can be informed.

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