Vaginal birth after caesarean
In the UK one in five women currently give birth by caesarean section, with about half of these as a planned operation and the other half as an emergency.
So what happens if you have another baby?
If you have had a previous caesarean section then thinking about how you will birth your next baby can feel daunting and overwhelming. It’s important to know you have a choice and it’s really important to know where to find the right information to help make that choice. Use the links here to get everything you need to make an informed, positive decisions about your next birth
After one caesarean section about 3 out of 4 women with a straightforward pregnancy go on to give birth naturally. You are more likely to have a successful VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean section) if your labour starts spontaneously (as opposed to induction of labour)
You may be advised that with VBAC it is possible that you may need to have an emergency caesarean section during labour. This happens in 25 out of 100 women. However it’s important to note this is only slightly higher than if you were labouring for the first time, when the chance of an emergency caesarean section is 20 in 100 women.
What are the NICE Guidelines (March 2019) for supporting women to have a VBAC?
Recently amended guidelines now make VBAC care much more women centred - you can read them here to make sure you’re getting the care and support you’re entitled to and deserve - NICE GUIDELINES
My top 5 tips for preparing for a VBAC are:
Remember that all births are different and this one can be too. Understanding your previous caesarean is a really good start to releasing the fears or anxieties you may have about having another one, or birthing vaginally. Talk to your care providers about your previous birth and ask their recommendations. Find a class or support group where you can discuss your choices positively (like Hypnobirth!) rather than allowing your fear or other peoples fears to influence your decision and increase your anxiety. We want you to build your confidence!
Watch and read some positive VBAC stories. Build your confidence. They are all different and all amazing. Some women have successful VBACs and others do have another caesarean – it’s really interesting to see though that they often still describe the birth as positive, as they approached it calmer, more prepared for all outcomes and in a more positive way.
Understand your body. If you choose to have a VBAC it’s important to think about your birth and how you can prepare your body. Think about positioning, coping techniques, ways that you can reduce the risk of tearing or getting in to difficulty. You may hear the term ‘assisted vaginal birth’ (ventouse of forceps),which can be a factor in VBAC. So understanding how to support your body is really important.
Release your fears. Listening to positive affirmations, visualisations and relaxations can help to reduce anxiety in pregnancy. This is recommended to all mama’s-to-be but particularly beneficial to women who have had difficult or traumatic previous births. Remember, all births are different so focus on creating a positive environment around you. You can download a whole library of positive birth affirmations and audios on our resource page when you book sessions with us.
Know where to get support and information from. NICE and AIMS are wonderful resources for you to find out what to expect when preparing for a VBAC and what your rights are, particularly the AIMS link i’ve added. You can also visit RCOG to find out more about the risks and benefits of VBAC and ERCS (Elected repeat caesarean section)
Lastly, use you BRAIN decision making tool (follow the link) Once you have all of the information use BRAIN to make an informed, considered decision that is right for you. Continue to use it at every decision you have to make and remember you have choices throughout.
Choosing an Elected Repeat Caesarean Section
You might decide to have an ERCS (elected repeat caesarean section) that doesn’t mean that you have surrendered your birth experience, far from it! When planning a caesarean it’s important to prepare for this positively too, understanding the process and discussing what was positive last time and what might not have been. How can this experience be better?
Hypnobirth classes help you to prepare for a positive caesarean section by discussing your choices (of which you still have many!) helping you to discuss and plan your birth preferences, giving you techniques to cope with anxiety and worry so that you can approach your babies birth feeling excited and ready, rather than it feeling like a medical procedure – it’s not, it’s your babies birth!
If you have any questions about the techniques, or want to know more about other relaxation techniques for pregnancy & birth you could book a BIRTH HOUR appointment with us, for a short, effective and informative hour of birth coaching. Details can be found here.