A Teaching Tool for Parents & Birth Professionals
The VBAC Education Project (VEP), endorsed by the International Childbirth Education Association and the International Cesarean Awareness Network, was developed to empower women to make their own decisions about how they want to give birth after a cesarean and to provide VBAC-friendly birth professionals and caregivers with the tools and resources to support them.
The VBAC Education Project is licensed by Creative Commons as Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International. This gives the user the permission to download, copy, and distribute the information as it is provided, with attribution, for non-commercial purposes.
The VBAC Education Project consists of four parts:
- Deciding if A VBAC Is Right for You: A Parent’s Guide (slide set, Introduction and 14 modules)
- Resources for VBAC and Physiologic Birth: A Parent’s Guide (e-book)
- Educational Handouts for Parents: A Parent’s Guide (e-book)
- VBAC For Educators: A Teaching Guide (e-book)
The National Institutes of Health and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists encourage healthy pregnant mothers with a prior cesarean to labor for a vaginal birth after a cesarean (VBAC), yet most mothers have a routine repeat cesarean. Often, they don’t have access to accurate information about VBAC and cannot make an informed choice. Or, they can’t find a care provider or hospital to support them. Between 70-75% of mothers who labor after a prior cesarean have a safe VBAC, but only 10% of women had a VBAC in 2012 compared to almost 30% in 1996.
Routine repeat cesareans put healthy mothers and babies at risk for several short- and long-term health complications. Women should have access to evidence-based information and to safe care if they choose to labor for a VBAC.
If you had a baby by cesarean, you have a choice about how you want to give birth this time. It’s your decision.
The Deciding if A VBAC Is Right for You: A Parent’s Guide slide-set is divided into 14 modules. You can read all the modules or just the ones you are most interested in. This evidence-based guide provides comprehensive information on VBAC, a safe option to a routine repeat cesarean. It includes information on how to increase your odds for a VBAC and how to find a supportive caregiver and place of birth. It also helps you understand why you may have had a cesarean and how you can do things differently this time. Here is the information that you will find in the slide-set.
Table of Contents
Introduction Module 1 VBAC: The Benefits for Mothers and Babies
Module 2 What Is the Main Concern When Laboring for a VBAC?
Module 3 A Closer Look at Repeat Cesareans: Benefits & Risks (revised 6/16)
Module 4 What Are the Odds of My Having a VBAC?
Module 5 Four Main Reasons for a First Cesarean: What You Can Do Differently This Time
Module 6 Helpful Strategies for Labor and Birth
Module 7 Coping With the Pain of Labor
Module 8 Psychological and Emotional Issues
Module 9 If I Want a VBAC, Where Can I Give Birth? Planning a Hospital VBAC
Module 10 Planning a Birth Center VBAC (revised 8/15)
Module 11 Planning a Home VBAC (HBAC): Is It Safe?
Module 12 How Do You Want to Give Birth? It’s Your Decision
Module 13 What You Can Do To Have a Safe and Satisfying Birth
Module 14 Trust Yourself to Give Birth Safely
The Resources for VBAC & Physiologic Birth helps expand your knowledge about VBAC and physiologic (normal) birth. Respecting the process of normal birth and introducing interventions only when necessary increases the chances of having a safe vaginal birth.
The Educational Handouts for Parents helps you to think about what you want for your birth and to discuss the issues that are important to you with your caregiver. It gives you the tools you need to make informed decisions and increases your chances of having a safe and satisfying birth.
If you are a labor and delivery nurse, office nurse, doula, community-based maternal-child health worker or birth activist, the Deciding if VBAC Is Right for You slide-set provides the medical facts you need to understand the VBAC option and the psychological issues related to laboring for a VBAC. It also includes 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 mentioned above are useful for you and the families you work with.
For Educators and Birth Community Leaders
The slide-set, Deciding if VBAC Is Right for You, was also developed to be used as a curriculum for VBAC classes. If you teach childbirth classes or lead a support group for women with a prior cesarean, you can choose any of the 14 modules that meet your needs and combine them to best serve the expectant parents you work with.
The supporting e-book, VBAC for Educators: A Teaching Guide helps you to present the material to your students. It includes background materials for each of the 14 modules, teaching tips, and sample informed consent/refusal forms, parent education, and hospital protocols for VBAC that you can copy for your use.
The Resources and Educational Handouts can reinforce the topics you have already covered.
Share with your friends and colleagues how you are using the VBAC Education Project to educate parents and bring about change in your community to increase access to safe care for VBAC.
For Physicians and Midwives
If you are a physician or midwife, the slide-set provides expectant parents with evidence-based information about VBAC. It can help your patients to reinforce and expand the prenatal conversations you will have with them. It also helps mothers prepare for childbirth and clarify some of the issues they are most concerned about.
Clinicians rarely have the time to provide parents with all the information they need to make informed decisions. The VBAC Education Project can be an additional resource for the families you work with.
If you would like to find out more about how other providers and hospitals are supporting VBAC, you can download sample hospital VBAC and gentle-cesarean protocols, informed consent/refusal forms, and patient education materials from, Hospital Policies that Support VBAC, Family-Centered Cesarean, and Informed Choice. These examples of Hospital Policies are also included in Appendix A of VBAC for Educators: A Teaching Guide.
About the Flyer
The flyer is designed to advertise the availability of the VBAC Education Project. It can be distributed to expectant parents, advertise a class, or a community support group meeting. There is space available to print the name of your birth practice, hospital, birth center or educator, doula and breastfeeding support professional services.
About the web links embedded in the VBAC Education Project
Live links are embedded to give readers direct access to additional resources. Because we have no control over the management of these websites, specific links may have been moved, relocated or removed as information is updated. If the link doesn’t direct you to what you’re looking for, try using the search function on that specific website.
A selection of slides from Deciding If VBAC Is Right For You have been reformatted to be used as posters or banners. Download and print them as large as 36in. They can be posted in classrooms, on the Labor & Delivery unit, in a community clinic, in the office, birth center, Yoga studio, or anywhere that expectant mothers are likely to gather.
Contact us if your organization would like to endorse the VEP.