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VBAC Cubby - vaginal birth after cesarean

VBAC and getting labor going
by Donna Harvel Balo ARNP, CNM, MS
Donna BaloQ. I have to say first, I am by no means in a rush to have this baby. I'm 37 1/2 weeks and another week or so would be wonderful. Closer to my due date is fine by me. I'm even happy/comfortable/prepared for with a post-due situation. I just want to labor on my own.

I'm just under 25% effaced, baby is at -2 station, head down, not too big (6 lbs by ultrasound measurements as of yesterday). My OB says I'm an IDEAL VBAC situation. Monday (at 38 weeks) she wants to check my cervix for progress and possibly try to stimulate things along by either stretching my cervix of stripping membranes. Sshe says the difference is one you separate the sac from the cervix, the other you don't. The reason for this is just to get things moving; I'm having loads of prodromal labor, which is obviously doing a little, and I have a history of post-dates (my son was 16 days post-due at birth). Laboring on my own is quite important to me, especially for labor itself, mobility etc.

My question. what can I be doing to help things along, that are safe in VBAC situation? For example evening primrose oil? I'm considering doing a lower dose vaginally (2 rather than 3 capsules nightly). Do deep knee bends really help? I'm walking tons, I'm drinking my red raspberry leaf tea and yes, having sex too. What else can I do that is safe?

A. It sounds like all is going along fine and that you have a good plan. You are wise to note you carried your first baby postdates, so maybe that is a normal gestation for you.

It is also prudent to ask - why the rush!? You are not even due yet.

If laboring on your own is important to you, generally allowing labor to begin on its own, gives the best chance of that happening. You may be aware of the "cascade of interventions" meaning a snowball, or domino effect one intervention begetts another.

Have a frank discussion with your provider about what you want from your labor. Ask for her help in allowing you to let labor begin etc. How long postdates will she "allow"? You will then know when you might be willing to allow "stripping" etc.

Deep knee bends and walking - I don't think have much merit. Orgasm, semen, nipple stimulation, red raspberry leaf tea, EPO are all good and some are even fun .

Remember your care is a partnership between you and your provider; you do have a say. You might want to hire a doula who can help you during your labor to maximize your options.

Good luck!

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