When I became pregnant with my second child, I had a heavy decision to make: another C-section or a VBAC? This decision was made even harder as my consultant was outwardly pushing for an elective C-section. It was an emotional and distressing decision as I just wanted to make the right decision for my body and my baby. After careful consideration, I decided to opt for a vaginal birth and I’m so pleased that I did because I was able to successfully achieve a VBAC. If you’re hoping to do the same, here are my top tips.
1. Ask for a birth debrief
Understanding your last labour and learning why certain things happened will help you plan and prepare for this labour. It may also provide a sense of closure and help you direct your energy positively towards this labour. You can ask your midwife or hospital for a hospital debrief.
2. Ask for a second opinion
Hopefully, you will have an informative and supportive doctor or midwife who will guide you through your options and provide information on the different ways they will support your desired birth plan. However, if you do not and you leave the conversation feeling worried, confused and/or disappointed, do not be afraid to ask for a second opinion.
3. Surround yourself with positive VBAC experiences
Since the success rate for VBACS is generally high, there are so many success stories available online through online groups and personal videos. Read, listen and watch as many as you can; this will help boost your confidence and increase your trust in your body.
4. Create a birth plan
Birth plans are a great way to consider all your options before labour, such as what your preferences are if things don’t quite go to plan and how you’d like your environment during and after labour. Low lights? Pain relief? Minimum visits from health professionals other than your midwife? This will help you feel prepared and more in control. It will also help inform your midwives or doctors how to best meet your needs. You can find many birth plan templates online, such as the NHS birth plan, that may help you factor in everything you need to before the big day.
5. Remember it’s your body, your choice
There are many opinions around VBACs, and people may try to influence you one way or the other. But know that, ultimately, the choice is yours to make.
One thing I did to help me feel at peace with my decision was to produce my own list of pros and cons between vaginal birth and an elective C-section. For me, the pros of a vaginal birth outweighed the pros of the C-section, but this could be totally different for you. Feeling comfortable and confident with my decision helped me feel psychologically prepared, which in turn ensured a positive labour experience.
There’s no way of knowing how an elective C-section or a VBAC would pan out. There are advantages and disadvantages of both. So the most important thing is that you feel happy with your decision and that your baby is delivered safely, because this is all that matters in the end."