Birth Professionals Are Eager to Increase Awareness About VBAC

21 Sep

Maternity care professionals have many suggestions for increasing awareness about the safety of VBAC and supporting mothers who want to labor after a prior cesarean. They only need an opportunity to make that happen. Intro.key

On Saturday, September 19, I had the honor of speaking about VBAC and the VBAC Education Project to a room full of dedicated maternity care professionals at the Lamaze/ICEA Joint Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. I spoke about the need to educate parents and professionals about bringing back the choice to labor for a VBAC which was widely available till the late nineties when nearly 1 in three U.S. mothers with a prior cesarean had a vaginal birth. I asked the audience if they could think of one strategy they could use to increase awareness of the safety of VBAC in their community or one change they could make in their hospital policies and procedures to help mothers who wanted to labor after a prior cesarean. I was inspired by the suggestions they made.


Update On The Safety of Home Birth After a Cesarean (HBAC)

17 Sep

A recently published study on planned home VBAC in the United States, the largest to date, may shed a little more light on the safety of home birth after a cesarean for parents who may be considering that option. The study is the second one on planned home births based on the MANA Stats 2.0 data set.

More and more women in the U.S. are faced with the denial of hospital-based maternity care for VBAC. According to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, planned home VBACs have been increasing at the same time that hospital VBACs have been decreasing. Some women are choosing a home VBAC rather than having an unnecessary repeat cesarean or repeating a previously traumatic surgical birth. Mothers need as much information as possible to make an informed decision about where and with whom they want to give birth.        20111225_Jess_6743_2000

Researchers compared outcomes for 1,052 women with a prior cesarean who planned a home birth with 12,092 women without a prior cesarean. All women were cared for by midwives. Here is what the study found:


The Launch of the VBAC Education Project, A Teaching Tool for Parents & Birth Professionals

10 Aug

Dear Friends & Colleagues,

We are excited to announce that The VBAC Education Project is now available to download online at no cost from

The evidence-based, collaborative, teaching tool endorsed by the International Childbirth Education Association and the International Cesarean Awareness Network, was developed to answer the many questions parents have about VBAC and provide educators and maternity care professionals with the resources they need to support women who want to labor after a prior cesarean.

We hope it will be useful to childbearing families and for birth professionals in their work and support for mothers who want to plan a VBAC. Please, share the VBAC Education Project with your friends, colleagues, and expectant parents.

Join the VBAC Education Project Community on Facebook to share and learn from others how they are using the VBAC Education Project to increase access to VBAC.

The Odds of Breastfeeding Success May Begin Even Before a Baby Is Born

7 Aug

August is the month dedicated to increasing awareness about the benefits of breastfeeding for mothers and babies. Breastfeeding provides optimal health, nutritional, immunologic and developmental benefits to newborns as well as protection from postpartum complications and future disease for mothers.

The World Health Organization and UNICEF have recognized  that the likelihood of initiating and continuing breastfeeding is determined even before the baby is born. How a woman in labor is cared for (birth practices) can ultimately help or hinder the initiation and success of breastfeeding.



Regardless of her birth setting, the WHO/UNICEF  recommends that women should have access to the following birth care practices:

  • Care by staff trained in non-drug methods of pain relief and who do not promote the use of analgesic or anesthetic drugs unless required by a medical condition;
  • Care that minimizes routine practices and procedures that are not supported by scientific evidence including withholding nourishment, early rupture of membranes, use of IVs, routine electronic fetal monitoring, episiotomy and instrumental delivery;
  • Care that minimizes invasive procedures such as unnecessary augmentation or induction of labor and medically unnecessary cesarean sections.
  • Care should be sensitive and responsive to the specific beliefs, values, and customs of the mother’s culture, ethnicity and religion;
  • Women should have birth companions of their choice who provide emotional and physical supp0rt throughout labor and birth;
  • Women should have the freedom to walk, move about, and assume the positions of their choice during labor.

With the recommended care, women are more likely to avoid complications and have a safe and healthy birth.

Women’s birth experience exerts a unique influence on both breastfeeding initiation and later infant feeding behavior. Although the hospital stay is typically very short, events during this time have a long and lasting impact. Medications and procedures administered to the mother during labor affect her infant’s behavior at the time of birth, which in turn affects her infant’s ability to suckle in an organized and effective manner at the breast.

Maternity care providers have an obligation to care for women and newborns in a way that provides both with the best possible health outcomes. Caring for women in labor according to the WHO/UNICEF recommendations will help more mothers and babies initiate and maintain breastfeeding.


World Breastfeeding Week, 2015

WHO/UNICEF Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding

CDC  The CDC Guide to Strategies to Support Breastfeeding Mothers and Babies