This is the 60 million dollar question, right?! I want to have a VBAC. I know that it's not necessarily going to be simple. I've not had one before. And every woman and her cat wants to put their 2 cents worth in.....
So how the hell do I prepare for it?
The answer isn't so easy to find...but is also really simple.
It totally depends on what you want from this journey.
I know that you're sick of me telling you this and you just want the magic formula. Eat this. Do that exercise. BAM! VBAC.
Here's the closest that I've ever come to a magic formula....
Get clear on what you want from the journey
Hint: this is more than just a baby coming out of your vagina. How do you want to feel? What appointments do you want to go to? Who do you want to talk to and how do you want them to talk to you about birth? What support do you need?
But preparing for a medically managed VBAC in a private hospital is going to be different to preparing for a physiological homebirth. Preparing for a VBAC where it is a 3/10 importance will be different to preparing for a VBAC where it is a 9/10 importance. If your reason for wanting a VBAC is only the better recovery that will also be a different preparation process than if you want a VBAC due to previous trauma or serious fears around caesarean.
The long and the short - you need to get SUPER specific about what this journey means to you.
Learn about birth
But not just normal hospital birth (ie: birth with lots of interventions). Learn about physiology. Hormones. What helps make birth safe. And what YOU need to help you feel safe.
You also need to know how interventions can interfere with physiology, under what circumstances you would want certain interventions, and how to minimise the risks associated with them.
Get to know your care provider
Now that you know ALL about birth physiology - it's time to find out what your care provider knows about birth physiology and how they support it.
DON'T just ask them "do you support VBAC". Ask them HOW.
Then check out their policies / guidelines and see whether these support VBAC (hint: most don't....).
Then move onto the next step....
Learn about your rights and practice standing in your power
"But it's our policy" is the catch cry of many a care provider. But the thing is - you are under no obligation to follow their policies. YOU are the only person who has a legal right to make decisions about your pregnancy and birthing care.
I regularly recommend that you start practicing assertive-ness, asking questions, and making decisions from as early as possible. Every time a care provider suggests something to you (and EVERYTHING is just a suggestion!) say:
"Why are you suggesting this for me?"
[care provider answer]
"Thank you so much for that information I'll let you know my decision when I have made it" (or "here is my decision" if you have already made it based on your previous learnings).
This signals to your care provider that a) you understand that their suggestions are only suggestions and b) YOU are the decision maker. And the more that you practice these skills, the easier it will be to ask questions and make decisions when you are more vulnerable - ie: at the end of pregnancy and during labour.
Bring it all together in a powerful birth plan
Now that you know all this stuff and have practiced your assertive communication skills you can bring it all together in a birth plan that takes into account what YOU want from this journey and what support your physiology; responds to your care provider's policies; and does NOT ask for permission or come across as passive. Perfection!
You'll notice that I didn't tell you to eat dates, do squats, drink red raspberry leaf tea, walk for miles, eat 7 whole pineapples, see a chiropractor, osteopath, and acupuncturist. That's because those things are totally optional extras - if these are things that you love to do, you have the time, AND they are within your budget - GO FOR IT! Otherwise - give it a miss and focus on the stuff you learnt about birth physiology and hormones.
You have EVERYTHING you need to birth your baby already within you - generally we need to remove things NOT add them to our list in order to prepare for a VBAC in a truly powerful way.
You have totally got this!
PS: If you would like someone to hold your hand through these steps AND to guide you through some deeper, individualised VBAC preparation please get in touch. You can email me at email@example.com.
Together we can transform your VBAC journey and re-ignite your power and confidence.
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