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Birth Options and VBAC

Katherine Graves Hypnobirthing book | Birth experiences Last week I shared a post recalling the lessons I’ve learned from the three very different birth experiences I’ve had to date. The post was getting long and I was due an appointment with my midwife. So I thought it better to leave it until this week to talk about the birth options and VBAC I’m considering for the baby currently residing in my tummy.

At the moment I’m 27 weeks pregnant. I’m hurtling swiftly towards the third trimester and ready to start considering how to get the baby out! Because I’ve have had a C-section in the past, if I opt for a vaginal birth this time, it will be known as a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After C-section).

The term itself worried me at first because I didn’t like thinking a vaginal birth after c-section was so risky that it deserved a special name. However after doing a bit of research, a VBAC seems pretty standard practice. There are just a few options that won’t be available to me which is why it is named differently.

Mother and new born, C Section Birth| Birth Experiences: birth options and VBAC

I will pause for a moment here to say that all hospitals are different. I have spoken to a few friends who have had VBACs at different hospitals and the options available to them have differed to mine. However, for me, induction will not be an option.

The reason is that the drugs delivered to induce a labour can intensify contractions, often placing strain on the uterine wall. Because my C-section scar serves as a weak point in this wall, the risk of a uterine rupture is increased and so inductions are avoided.

Secondly, I won’t be able to have an epidural if the pain becomes too intense. The reason behind this being that epidurals can actually slow a labour down, placing additional pressure on the scar over a longer period of time. Again because poses an increased risk of uterine rupture, the advice at my hospital is to avoid it.

Now I spoke a lot in the previous post about my desire for a ‘natural birth’. But I can remember a point in my labour with Edie where I thought that I was actually going to ‘die’ from the pain. Ok that’s a bit dramatic, but it HURT! Knowing the option of an epidural was there has always been pretty comforting and so having it taken away freaks me out a little…

birth options and VBAC

So what options are available to ease the pain…?

Well reading through the advice on my hospitals website, there is gas and air or pethidine, (which I’ve already discussed aren’t really the best options for me), breathing techniques (hypnobirthing) or a water birth. Being submerged in water helped immensely with the pain during my MC as the buoyancy it provided helped relieve the pressure meaning the pain was less intense.

Because of this a water birth is definitely something I want to try, but there is a risk that a pool might not be available if it is a busy day on labour ward.

One way round that might be to book in for a home birth meaning I can hire the birth pool in advance. This is something that I am considering and have arranged an appointment with the home birth team at my local hospital to discuss options.

However because there is an increased risk of a uterine rupture after a c section, I obviously don’t want to put myself or the baby in any additional danger. If that is the case and a home birth isn’t recommended then I’ll be using hypnobirthing techniques in the hospital.   Until I have my chat with the home birth team, I’d be really interested to hear your stories….

What do you think of birth options and VBAC? Have you experienced a VBAC, how was it for you? Were you able to birth at home or would you recommend a hospital? Does anyone else find gas and air sickening? What pain relief did you use instead?

It would be really great to hear from you xxx


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