As our clients begin to prepare for birth, the desire to explore their options is a common theme as they set out on their journey into parenthood.
As doulas, we help clients navigate their options around their birth preferences, infant feeding choices, and postpartum desires. No matter if this is your first or fifth baby.
April is VBAC Awareness Month, so there’s no better time to highlight how to navigate a VBAC birth plan. A VBAC birth plan is similar to a traditional birth plan but there are some key points to keep in mind for a VBAC-specific client.
As a client who desires a VBAC or vaginal birth after cesarean, you may find you have a bit more to consider when it comes to preparing mentally, physically, and educationally, than a person giving birth for the first time.
The number one thing you need to have on your VBAC birth plan is SUPPORT.
A solid support system from those you choose to have on your birth team can make a world of difference in labor and delivery.
Some questions you will need to ask yourself are:
Who will be supporting me during my labor?
- My provider?
- My partner?
- Family members?
- A Doula?
- My friends?
- Do they support my choice to have a VBAC?
Finding out if your chosen birth team will fully support your desire for a VBAC without bias or judgment will help determine if that person or people are the right choices to have in your birth space or not.
Remember, your support team should be there to encourage you to do what feels best for you throughout labor.
This is also true for the birthing location and provider you choose.
Be sure that your provider is not only aware of your wishes for a VBAC, but is progressive in their approach to supporting VBACs. This can be a huge step to increasing your chances of a successful vaginal birth.
Next, it will be important to walk through the stages of labor and determine what options are available to you and which options feel best.
Maybe you have had a trial of labor before or perhaps this will be the first time you will experience the onset of labor. Either way, it helps to understand what can happen, the options available to you, and most importantly how you feel about those options.
As you start to understand what a VBAC may look like for you and the ways to be physically and educationally supported through it all, it is also wise to keep in mind that emotional support is very important when choosing to have a VBAC.
Depending on what happened during your last birth, you may find that you need to process your previous birth experience so that you are prepared for the labor the labor that you will soon experience.
Identifying and understanding any triggers that may exist from the previous birth and how to cope best with those can help reduce fear and instill strength. It can also help with self-advocacy, especially if you need to change course and take a different path than planned.