“I’m planning a Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC). Is The Mindful Cesarean for me?”
Research tells us that most women can birth vaginally following a cesarean, should they so choose.(i)
Supportive care from an obstetrician or midwife is an essential ingredient and studies show that inviting a doula to your birth team increases your likelihood of a vaginal birth.(ii) And while not everyone needs it to the same extent, coming to terms with the experience of a prior cesarean is an important step on the path to a VBAC. As part of this processing work, imagining coping well with another cesarean may be a liberating exercise. It might not feel good initially, but facing the thing we fear, and imagining coping with it, robs it of power.
For some of my VBAC clients, thinking back to their cesarean is deeply painful and contemplating the possibility of second cesarean is positively ungluing. Even so, I have made it a practice to gently invite couples to imagine – at a point in their VBAC preparation – coping well with a birth by cesarean. I’ve found that doing so helps families enter their next child’s birth as open as they possibly can.
It is my hope that anyone preparing for a VBAC will find an unexpected freedom during their birth after preparing for a mindful cesarean.
(i) “Comparing risks of cesarean and vaginal birth to mothers, babies, and future reproductive capacity: a systematic review,” Childbirth Connection (2012). Retrieved from http://www.childbirthconnection.org/article.asp?ck=10210, December 2015.
Jukeleviks, N., “VBAC: a safe alternative to repeat cesarean. 2011 Guide to a Healthy Birth, Choices in Childbirth, (2011). Retrieved from:http://choicesinchildbirth.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/2011_JUKELEVICS_VBAC.pdf
(ii) Hodnett, E.D., Gates, S., et al., “Continuous support for women during childbirth,” Cochrane database of systematic reviews: CD003766 (2012). Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21328263, Mar 2014.