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VBAC Cubby - vaginal birth after cesarean

VBAC After Never Laboring Before
by Donna Harvel Balo ARNP, CNM, MS
Donna BaloQ. I had an "emergency c-section" in July of 2001 because of an error in calculating the baby's heart rate with the electronic fetal monitor. I never went into labour and was 10 days overdue.

I am pregnant again and am planning on a VBAC. Since I've not labored before, will my body act like it's by first birth? I am concerned about going past my due date and having a long labour associated with first time births.

A. Yes, this is your first vaginal birth so your body will act like it is the first. I recommend women plan for a long, difficult birth (whether it is the first or not). That way you prepare and gear yourself up emotionally and physically for a real physical challenge. If it ends up being shorter and not quite so tough, it is a bonus! But if it is long and hard, you are prepared for it.

Drink three glasses of red raspberry leaf tea daily. Around 36 weeks you may want to consider evening primrose oil taken orally a few times a day and 1-3 inserted intravaginally at night (very messy - wear a pad!). Do not use without discussing it with your midwives. It is a prostaglandin and helps to "ripen" the cervix (which is what makes sperm valuable too!).

Have an excellent diet high in protein, 64oz of water a day. Stay away from junk food, caffeine, drugs, alcohol and smoking. Exercise daily if you have been approved. This applies to everyone pregnant of course!

Continue having intercourse, orgasm, and/or nipple stimulation until you are in active labor or your water breaks, or you go to the hospital, whichever comes first as long as you have not been told to abstain.

Keep in mind that some women always carry their babies past the due date. Hopefully you have a very supportive provider who knows how important this is to you. And you have chosen people to support you who will know how to help you when you need it.

I think you are wise to think carefully and plan carefully for a c-section, just in case. I think everyone should. In your case, partly to help you heal (I do believe that you had PTSS!). I would write down everything that made you sad and angry about the birth of your first baby. Then next to each of those things, write everything you can do to make it different this time. This may include the wonderful support people around you, how healthy you have been, all the info you have been gathering etc. Next write down - what if it was the same scenario as last time - then what? It is not your preference, of course, on the other hand, you have a wonderful, healthy baby I assume.

Next plan for if it is a c-section - what options do you want? What kind of anesthesia, who do you want with you, do you want to hold the baby while on the operating table, what kinds of photos do you want, do you want to breastfeed your baby right away, have your partner or mom give the first bath etc. The important thing to remember is this is the birth of your baby and you have options and choices.

Once you think about all that and write a birthplan to share with your midwives, partner and doula, plan for your vaginal birth. Plan for it and know in your whole being that it will be successful, beautiful and incredibly empowering! And, don't look back!

What you are feeling is normal! But, it is time to heal!

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