Archive | Uncategorized RSS feed for this section

Coping with the Pain of Labor

6 Nov

Many mothers considering a VBAC, especially if their prior cesarean was scheduled, are concerned about how they will cope with the pain of labor. Some fear that having an epidural will complicate labor and lead to additional interventions that will lower their odds for having a vaginal birth. The VBAC Education Project

Non-drug methods of pain relief including continuous emotional support from a doula are beneficial for mothers and babies and do not cause harm.

  • What options for pain relief are you considering?
  • Try to use non-drug methods of pain relief and comfort measures before using drugs for pain relief.
  • You may want to use music, aromatherapy, visualisation, rhythmic breathing and relaxation, yoga or hypnobirthing techniques.
  • Find out about touch therapy, massage, a water birth, acupressure or acupuncture, water injections, and TENS (electrical stimulation).

If you want an epidural:

  • Try to wait until your cervix is dilated to 4-5 centimeters before it is given to you.
  • To help the baby move through your pelvis and rotate for birth, try changing positions slowly while in bed every 20 to 30 minutes during labor. You may need some help.
  • When you are fully dilated, you may need to wait an hour or more before you feel you’re ready for active pushing.
  • You may want to rest or sleep until you feel rectal pressure strong enough to push on your own.
  • You may want to wait until the numbness of the epidural wears off before pushing. With an epidural you may need up to three hours to push your baby out.

Find out more about coping with the pain of labor from Module 7 of  Deciding if VBAC Is Right for You: A Parent’s Guide.

Additional Resources

National Health Service, UK

Choices In Childbirth


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.