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The Right to Choose Our Transportation on Our Birth Journey

Posted on November 3, 2011 at 10:35 AM

I knew I wanted to discuss vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) this week, but when I came across the following article: http://enjoybirth.com/blog/2010/03/05/birth-is-a-journey-shouldnt-we-be-able-to-choose-our-transportation/ I was reminded of how important our transportation truly is in the days/months and years after our births. One of the women –Callie- in the article still has nightmares from her experience and Evelyn feels that she was lied to.

This article’s metaphor got me thinking about my two birth journeys. I have 3 boys – twins born by surgical birth and a singleton who arrived 2 years later by VBAC. My first birth left me feeling like Evelyn, I was never told about the surgical risks or – more importantly- the long term effects that having a c-section has on future births. Although I do not have nightmares from the surgery - as I did not have any complications and found it to be less of an ordeal than I had built up in my mind - I was not prepared for the uphill battle I would have to fight during my second pregnancy in order to achieve a VBAC.

I have been told that I was lucky to have had a choice -which is true because a generation ago choices were not given- but I was not given a choice for my first birth and had to fight for a ‘choice’ the second time. Today there is a huge discrepancy in the type of birth attendants we may choose as well as a discrepancy within those categories. You may choose a midwife because they are rumored to be less invasive and find yourself fighting interventions the whole way through or you may go with an OB and find yourself having a VBAC breech delivery (as experienced by one of my doula clients). Due to this discrepancy it is imperative that we, as expectant parents, thoroughly explore all of the options that are available.

Many of us have heard about the ‘intervention slide’ that often occurs to get labor going. It starts with the artificial rupture of membranes or a drip of pitocin to get things started, which may lead to the use of some type of pain medication to offer some relief from the induced contractions and can end up with a surgical birth after hours of labor that a woman’s body was just not ready for. If these interventions were not enough -after nine months of waiting to meet your new babe- we also need to plow through a plethora of risks quoted to us by our care providers. The part that is left out is that these ‘risks’ are not accurately communicated. Bruce Flamm, MD states in Birth After Cesarean: The Medical Facts , that VBAC parents “have been erroneously told that they are in a very high-risk group” as well as “the chance that a VBAC candidate will require emergency surgery is, for all practical purposes, no higher than that of any other pregnant woman” and “the risk of VBAC is not substantially greater than the risk of any type of childbirth.” He also states, “Midwives generally give care to low-risk or ‘normal’ pregnant women. However, VBAC mothers are not excluded. Numerous medical reports have revealed that VBAC is not associated with substantially more risk than any other childbirth.” All of these results have been quoted from a handful of medical studies. I suggest exploring the following studies: Rageth (1999), Mankuta (2003), Landon (2004), Fang (2006), Silver (2006), Mercer (2008) all of which have been quoted on http://vbacfacts.com/vbac/. Check out this VBAC facts site for all of the real risks of VBAC!

Enjoy choosing your transportation! We support all of your birth choices ~ Bellies2Babies

Categories: Pregnancy, Labour, Postpartum Adjustment Period

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