VBAC: How to manage your VBAC fears

Not all women who have had cesareans have VBAC fears when they're pregnant again, but many do. Maybe that describes you. Once you recognize your own VBAC worries, you'll need some strategies to help you cope with your concerns so that you remain positive and focused on your goal of a successful birth experience. Here are five suggestions that have worked for thousands of women who have had VBACs, some even after multiple cesareans.

  • Appreciate that you did your best, if you tried for a vaginal birth and ended up with a cesarean. You may find yourself going over all the "what ifs" -- What if I hadn't had Pitocin (or what if I had)? What if I had waited to have an epidural? Would my body have relaxed if I'd had an epidural sooner? Or that all time favorite: What if I had breathed better? Join the crowd. You've got lots of company. It's natural for women to ruminate on their birth experiences, whether joyful or disappointing. We need to go over them in our minds and in conversations with other women in great detail.

    "I have been doing VBAC/cesarean prevention work for 25 years. Every one of the women I have been contacted by, or have met as I traveled and spoke, have made the very best decisions that they could make at the time, given who they are, and the information that they had available to them -- or the pressure they felt -- at the time. It is important to note that "choices" made out of fear are not free choices, and to distinguish between fear and intuition. Every one of the women and their families were transformed by the outcomes of their decisions, sometimes positively and sometimes not so positively. People should not have to be defensive if things go well, nor should they have to defend the decisions they made if something goes awry. We do our best to predict outcomes, knowing that our powers to do so are limited, at best. Birth is a miracle and also a mystery. We cannot necessarily know what will happen when we begin the journey, although we can certainly trust that, in most instances, things will go remarkably well. Accepting that and at the same time eliminating our fear -- not our awe and respect -- around it, is perhaps one of our most important challenges."

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