4 Tips for a Beautiful VBAC

birth baby

Are you hoping for a VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean) but still having some lingering worries? Feeling overwhelmed by all the information and opinions out there on the world wide web? Check out this handy list of tips for having an awesome VBAC birth experience.

  1. Revisit your previous birth(s) and work through your fears:
    • If you’re thinking of having a VBAC, you may have had an unplanned Caesarean delivery for your previous pregnancy. This may or may not include some trauma, and we recommend doing some work to process that experience.
    • You might wish to talk to a therapist with experience in postpartum and birth issues. You can also reach out to us, Balancing Birth to Baby for private or group Birth Healing Coaching. Some people find it therapeutic to talk to their original birth provider about the experience to gain clarity and understanding.
    • Working through the difficult parts of your Caesarean delivery can help you with any anxiety or fears you might have. Some common fears are that your body is not strong enough or that you are not mentally capable of having a vaginal birth.
    • Know that your body is not a “lemon”. The majority (73%) of those who attempt a VBAC can achieve one (Landon et. al, 2004). Though much of what happens during birth is out of your control, there are many things you can do to prepare yourself and set yourself up for success the second time around.

  2. Get the right people on your team:
    • Ensure you and your partner are on the same page about having a VBAC. We recommend taking a prenatal class, especially if you did not take one the first time. Balancing Birth to Baby even has a class designed for 2nd-time parents (Birthin’ Again).
    • Find a provider who supports your desire for a VBAC. Unfortunately, there are some countries and hospitals where it can be difficult to find a provider who will support a VBAC. There are many factors for this, such as hospital policy, provider education, or availability of emergency equipment and personnel. Thankfully in Ontario finding a VBAC-supportive provider is possible.
    • Having a birth doula on your team can be hugely helpful in your quest for a VBAC. It can help put your mind at ease knowing someone will be there for you who is an expert in natural pain management during labour and who can be an advocate for you and your wishes during the birth.
    • At Balancing Birth to Baby, if you hire a birth doula, they will meet with you before your birth to help you process your birth fears through guided meditation – this can be critical for VBAC clients.

      nervous birth

  3. Do your homework:
    • Sometimes our fears come from the unknown and the best way to combat these fears is through knowledge. Learn as much as you can about VBACs and what the risks are. Know that there are also risks associated with repeat Caesarean deliveries so it’s important to compare these risks to those of a VBAC for your situation. Doing your research will help when your provider has a conversation with you about the risks of VBAC vs CBAC (Caesarean birth after Caesarean).  
    • The Ontario Association of Midwives has an excellent resource for people considering a VBAC, which discusses the risks and benefits. Here is the link.

  4. Get your body ready:
    • The other 3 tips are mostly about preparing your mind and support team. But as birth is a very physical act, it would be remiss to leave out some tips for getting your body healthy for birth!
    • This tip might be too late if you’re already pregnant – but evidence suggests a gap of at least 18-24 months between births is safest for a VBAC, in terms of helping to prevent uterine rupture.
    • Getting and staying physically active during your pregnancy can be helpful for preparing your body for a vaginal delivery. See our blog post on Exercise in Pregnancy for more great tips!
    • We also have a blog post on Nutrition during Pregnancy which will help optimize your nutrition for the marathon of labour and birth!

We hope these tips are helpful to you if you decide to try for a VBAC. Please know that even if your VBAC is not successful, you cannot “fail” at birth. Caesarean births can be just as beautiful as vaginal births. Even though what ultimately transpires during your birth is out of your control, you can prepare your mind and body to the best of your ability and be at peace knowing you’ve done your best for yourself and your baby.

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Landon MB, Hauth JC, Leveno KJ, Spong CY, Leindecker S, Varner MW, Moawad AH, Caritis SN, Harper M, Wapner RJ, Sorokin Y, Miodovnik M, Carpenter M, Peaceman AM, O’Sullivan MJ, Sibai B, Langer O, Thorp JM, Ramin SM, Mercer BM, Gabbe SG; National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Maternal-Fetal Medicine Units Network. Maternal and perinatal outcomes associated with a trial of labor after prior cesarean delivery. N Engl J Med. 2004 Dec 16;351(25):2581-9. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa040405. Epub 2004 Dec 14. PMID: 15598960.