In Honor of Cesarean Awareness Month: Introducing The VBAC Education Project

10 Apr

VBAC was deemed a reasonable and safe option to a routine repeat cesarean by the National Institutes of Health decades ago (1981). But, in recent years, misinformation about its safety and lack of clear national practice guidelines have succeeded in virtually eliminating VBACs in many hospitals. Intro.keyThousands of women are being denied medical care for VBAC and given no choice but to “consent” to a repeat operation they do not need or want. Mothers have the legal right to make their own health care decisions, but that right, more often than not, is not upheld. The  upcoming, evidence-based VBAC Education Project, 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. This volunteer collaborative project will be available for download at no cost.

The VBAC Education Project consists of four sections:

  • žDeciding if A VBAC Is Right for You: A Parent’s Guide (slides)
  • žVBAC for Educators: A Teaching Guide
  • ž Resources for VBAC and Physiologic Birth
  • žEducational Handouts for Parents

For Parents

žIf you are a parent whose baby was born by cesarean section, VBAC_HandoutsForParentsthis evidence-based slide presentation (14 modules) provides comprehensive information on vaginal birth after a cesarean (VBAC), a safe option to a routine repeat cesarean. It will also help you to understand why you may have had a cesarean and how you can do things differently this time. The Resources will help expand your knowledge about VBAC and physiologic (normal) birth. The Educational Handouts for Parents will give you the tools you need to make informed decisions and help you to have a safe and satisfying birth.

žFor Educators and Group Leaders

VBAC For Educators: A Teaching Guide is a companion to Deciding if A VBAC Is Right for You. If you teach childbirth classes or lead a support group for women with a prior cesarean the supporting e-book, VBAC for Educators: A Teaching Guide will help you to present the material to your students. It includes background information for each of the 14 modules, sample class outlines, teaching tips, examples of hospital guidelines and informed consent forms for VBAC you can duplicate for your own educational use. VBAC_ForEducatorsFor mothers considering a birth-center or home VBAC the Teaching Guide also explores the relative safety of VBAC outcomes for low-risk women who begin labor on their own compared to outcomes for planned hospital VBACs.

For Maternity Care Professionals

žIf you are a labor and delivery nurse, office nurse, doula, community-based maternal-child health worker or birth activist, this visual guide provides the medical facts you need to understand the VBAC option, the psychological issues related to laboring for a VBAC after an unexpected prior cesarean, and the many ways you can support and empower mothers to make their own best decisions about how they want to give birth this time. The Resources and Educational Handouts for Parents will be useful for you and the mothers and families you work with.

žFor Physicians and Midwives

žIf you are a physician or a midwife, this visual guide can help provide expectant parents with evidence-based information about vaginal birth after a cesarean. It can also help them to clarify some of the issues they are most concerned about.VBAC_Resources Clinicians rarely have the time to provide parents with all the information they may need to make informed decisions for birth after a cesarean. This guide can help begin the prenatal conversations you will have with mothers to help them make an informed choice about how they want to give birth this time.

The VBAC Education Project will soon be available for free download from and the International Childbirth Education Association. We hope it will help parents to find out more about the VBAC option and encourage maternity care professionals to safely support them.

Updated June 24, 2015.

10 Responses to “In Honor of Cesarean Awareness Month: Introducing The VBAC Education Project”

  1. Samantha arnold July 27, 2015 at 12:01 am #

    I’m hoping to have this information asap I’m 31 weeks pregnant and I’m having a hard time finding positive informative information on vbac delivery. I’m having to travel 3 hours away to give birth this time. I am tryng to have a sucessful delivery but I’m unable to find anything helpful

    • Nicette July 27, 2015 at 9:21 pm #

      Dear Samantha,

      Thank you for your interest in the VBAC Education Project. We are making our final edits and hope to launch this teaching tool by early August.

  2. Melinda Toumi June 30, 2015 at 8:59 pm #

    Oh wow! I’d love to be funny and say “I’m dying to see this!” BUT I’ve recently learned Kansas has a maternal mortality ratio (MMR) of 64. 64 deaths for 100,000 live births. (In 2013 we had 25 deaths for 38,804 births, so this MMR is from data extrapolation). But Iraq has an MMR of 63. There are Kansas counties with 60% cesarean rates because of VBAC bans. We are literally dying to see VBAC. And it’s not funny 🙁

    • Nicette July 1, 2015 at 10:03 am #

      Hello, Melinda

      The data you mentioned is alarming. Do you have the sources from which they came?


  3. Elizabeth Quinn June 23, 2015 at 12:29 pm #

    Any news on when this will be available? I can’t wait!

    • Nicette June 23, 2015 at 10:11 pm #

      Hello, Elizabeth

      Thank you for inquiring about the VBAC Education Project. It should be available in the next 2 to 3 weeks.


  4. Karen Clark April 25, 2015 at 7:58 pm #

    Thank you for all your hard work and dedication in promoting VBAC as a healthy alternative to repeat caesarean sections. I am looking forward to being able to use the educator’s guide in facilitating my VBAC classes within a health region that sees approximately 30% of first-time mothers deliver via c-section. Conversely, less than 19% of this same cohort choose to have a vaginal birth after caesarean with their second babies so I am hoping to be able to use your resources to inspire and empower more women in the Calgary region to consider a VBAC birth. Thanks again, Nicette!

  5. Jessica English April 11, 2015 at 11:47 am #

    These look like such wonderful resources! Thank you so much for all your work, I can’t wait to see the final products. Before publishing, I hope you will take another look at your covers to be sure that women of color represented. It’s vitally important that our materials represent that ALL women can VBAC, and the covers depicted above appear to only feature white women. Thanks again! I can’t wait to use and help promote your resources.

    • Nicette April 11, 2015 at 12:18 pm #

      Thank you for writing, Jessica. Multi-cultural families are represented in each of the four parts of the VBAC Education Project. However, you make a good point and we will change a couple of the covers.


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