Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor or medical professional—just a mom sharing personal experiences. Please always consult a doctor or medical professional before making any changes, during pregnancy or otherwise.
I’ve given birth twice. The first time was a highly medicated, induced, “emergency” c-section. The second, an unmedicated, non-induced VBAC (Vaginal Birth After C-section).
Pregnancy #1 vs. Pregnancy #2
Both of my pregnancies were incredibly similar. I had almost identical blood pressure, weight gain, and symptoms. Normal growth and movement from the babies throughout pregnancy. Both babies registering as “large” during prenatal visits.
I also had the same birthing goal: an unmedicated, vaginal delivery in a hospital setting.
If anything, my stats for my second pregnancy were probably a bit worse than they were with my first. I started out weighing more and I was 3 years older.
So how was it that I was able to have a natural hospital birth during my second pregnancy with zero red flags raised, yet during my first pregnancy I was flagged as “at risk” and forced into an “emergency” induction, followed by an “emergency” c-section? The answer: it’s all in the doctor.
The One Thing that Can Make or Break a VBAC
The single, controllable thing that can make or break a VBAC, or any vaginal birth, for that matter, is the doctor that you choose.
Not all doctors approach childbirth the same way. Not all doctors are created equal.
(Re-read that last line over and over until it’s ingrained in your mind. )
During my first pregnancy, I naively thought that any doctor or medical professional that works with a pregnant woman followed a standard set of medical rules and guidelines; that it didn’t really matter which doctor I went with because she or he would follow the same set of rules.
So instead, I just went with a doctor who made me feel comfortable. I figured that would be most important during pregnancy.
Oh my goodness, was I ever wrong.
The doctor that I had chosen for pregnancy #1 loved doing c-sections. She could work them into her schedule. She could have complete control. She could make more money.
She was pretty much the picture-perfect example of the doctors described in The Business of Being Born…only I didn’t realize it until she was scaring me into an induction, and later a c-section.
How Do You Pick the Right Doctor?
You do you research and ask them the right questions. You do this as early in your pregnancy as possible.
When you’re with a doctor who is supportive of natural childbirth, vaginal deliveries, and/or VBACs, the conversation around those topics will flow easily. The conversation typically won’t include traditional “scare tactics” (e.g. your baby is too big for a vaginal birth) the first time you ask about it.
How to Increase Your Chances of Having a VBAC
In pregnancy and birth, there are always going to be things beyond your control. Priority #1 is always healthy mom; healthy baby, and sometimes the path to healthy mom; healthy baby doesn’t include a VBAC. That’s a reality of pregnancy, and there’s not much you can do in some situations.
However, like picking the right doctor, there are other things that you can do to help increase your chances of having a successful VBAC. These 5 things in particular all contributed to me having a VBAC with my second daughter.