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What shall I do over the next 10 weeks to improve my chances of success VBAC?

(29 Posts)
LadyPenelope Wed 12-Jan-05 15:28:36

I was kind of assuming I would need to have another c-section (dd was emergency c-section, only got to about 7cms and she never fully descended, got into funny position.) However, at appointment with doc. on Monday, he was very encouraging and said that assuming baby is average or smaller size (ie not a monster baby!) and in a good position, he would be happy for me to try for VBAC. He also said that he would not induce, would leave everything to happen naturally as any intervention would increase chances of c-section. I'm pleased about this but now nervous and feeling unprepared.

I'm working full time right up until due date and I don't get much time to myself, but feel like I need to do as much as possible to get ready for the birth.

I've had a good pregnancy - not much weight gain, no swollen feet/hands etc.(except for feeling tired! but I'm blaming that on work, a 3 y.o. and Christmas!)

So what can I do that will help out in next 10 weeks? I'm signing up for a "refresher" birth class and I'll try to keep eating healthy and go to bed earlier.

What else can I do?
- Any books I should read?
- Is there any point in signing up for a pregnacny yoga/strech class this late - if I did, how many times a week?

Sorry this is long and TIA for any advice you have.

unicorn Wed 12-Jan-05 15:31:12

I'm a big fan of reflexology..(it helped me avoid a c-section with number 2)
If nothing else it is pure relaxation!
Maybe worth a try?
Best of luck.

suzywong Wed 12-Jan-05 15:31:30

Hi LadyP

there have been a lot of very interesting threads on VBAC with lots of advice, but IME the most useful thing you can do is decide in advance not to be disappointed if it does end up as an em C.

Have a look on the archived messages under VBAC and you will find lots of stuff, HTH

beansprout Wed 12-Jan-05 15:33:18

I think yoga can help at any stage. It is perfect exercise when preg and can be done every day. Will help on all levels. Certainly helped me!

Good luck!

LadyPenelope Wed 12-Jan-05 15:34:31

even this late beansprout?

Marina Wed 12-Jan-05 15:35:30

My top tip is avoid consultants at all costs unless you are lucky enough to have one that actually agrees with VBAC in principle and puts their money where their mouth is...
You sound fit and full of beans, LadyP, that's got to be a great start.

pupuce Wed 12-Jan-05 15:36:36

You want my honest opinion? get a doula ! VBAC need more proper care and a doula can help you get that....
VBAC is probably the only time I feel doulas are worth every penny

LadyPenelope Wed 12-Jan-05 15:43:08

I was wondering about that Pupuce - I looked through some previous threads last night and also looked at the site you recommendeded on one of those threads. But I'm still not entirely clear what the difference is between what a midwife will do and what a doula would do. Is it just like having a girlfriend in the room (ie great emotional support) or is there more to it? Would really welcome your perspective on this. (Mentioned doulas to dh the other day and he was a bit sceptical, and I did a really bad job of explaining why I thought it would be useful... which just showed up that I didn't know enough! )

pupuce Wed 12-Jan-05 16:55:38

A doula is someone who knows more about childbirth (usually) than you would and is familiar with what could happen to you... in case of a VBAC she would be a god sent because she will keep you safe. I'll tell you what i would do - not all doulas work the same way -
I would brief you properly antenatally about what happens and gauge what sort of birth you want (understand what happened last time), how you feel about pain relief,...
Then we would speak about the different likely scenario and how your DP can help you best. For example... what do you do if your waters break BEFORE labour.... what are your choices and your rights (you decide based on correct info!)
If staff wants to do something that you don't want, DP is properly equipped to argue your case (doula could help).
When labour starts doula comes to you, helps you cope with early labour. In case of VBAC she keeps you at home as much as possible (ideally transferring in late labour as to limit hospital's intervention*)... goes to hospital with you and DH... he drives, she holds your hand (needed in late labour!) and breathes with you if need be.
DP (and doula if need be) communicate clearly your situation, wishes.... if all goes well you deliver 1 hour later all is perfect... if things slow down doula deals with your stress, anxiety, anguish, anger and possibly DP's too! She can help you ask the right questions to the MW if they want to do something.

The problem with VBACs is that many MWs are extremly management prone (Mears is not average ).... you need to know the pros and cons of monitoring and how you plan to deal with it... you need to know what you are entitled to ask... it's all well and good to know this before the birth but IN LABOUR you won't and if DP is like most blokes.... he won't either as we are all to keen to say "well MW suggested and she must know best"... true for some... not true for others... don't forget they work for the NHS not for you!

Rant over LOL

As your DP... my suggestion is to send him to read websites like mine as it does explain what we do... I even had a dad's perspective on this... they wanted a VBAC (which they got see 1st reference) .

* Intervention is fine if you know what it is for and you know your choices.... I am sorry to report that they are lousy at communicating your choices... it always sounds like it is something you should do not something you have any choice over. You do!

BeachedWhale Thu 13-Jan-05 10:53:11

Lady P, I had a successful VBAC 3 weeks ago and like you I was very worried about it beforehand. To prepare, reading the Vbac threads on MN were very helpful. I did a refresher birth class too which I would definitely recommend. I also got a CD from which was specifically for preparing for a VBAC. Maggie Howell is the contact there. The cd focuses on relaxation,breathing techniques and visualisation exercises to help you get into a positive frame of mind for this birth. The idea is that you can use self hypnosis during the birth to help you cope. I started using it from 30 weeks and I used to listen to it at night when I got into bed so it didn't take up too much time. I was far from hypnotised when I actually got into the delivery room but I was able to use some of the techniques to calm me down.
I was lucky to get a very good midwife who had a "can do" attitude and didn't make me feel like a high risk case. The right support in labour can make all the difference so a doula as suggested could be a good move.
Keep your birth plan simple and be prepared to go with the flow a bit and be open minded. Things that I felt were important to my chances of success were being able to walk about during labour, trying to get as far as possible without drugs, being able to take a bath and not being poked about too much by doctors. I was worried about being on a monitor throughout the whole labour but in the end I was monitored at the start of labour and right at the end and my MW let me do my own thing in between.
The most important thing I discovered was that every pregnancy and birth is different so focus on what you would like to happen for this birth rather than what did happen last time. Give it a go. It was definitely worth it for me. I still feel elated by the experience and it helped me finally get over my traumatic first birth.
Good luck!

pupuce Thu 13-Jan-05 10:59:02

Maggie Howell is a doula too

pinkmama Thu 13-Jan-05 11:13:19

Hi LadyP, just wanted to say good luck, and that I had a VBAC after a very traumatic emergency c section with my 1st. I had been told that i would most likely have a c section, but moved areas at 32 weeks and new consultant thougth I was mad for not trying VBAC. I was very releived but very nervous. Was told I would be constatnly monitored because of scan, and was worried as I believe that it was the constant monitoring in 1st labour that started a bad chain of events. When it came to it, like Beachedwhale, I had a fantastic midwife, who let me do what I needed to do, and monitored me very little in the end and she and registrar kept me calm when I had problems pushing in teh end, their confidence got me through. Do think it was to do with my excellent midwife (and amazingly a good doctor), so as you can't guarnatee who you will get a doula does sound a good idea, although I personally have not looked into it much. Good luck, and hope all goes well.

BROWNY Thu 13-Jan-05 12:27:10


I've had three more children since my c/s almost 9 years ago. My 2nd baby was born naturally, only 19 months after my 1st daughter and although there was the usual concern that my scar would rupture, I insisted that I wanted to try for a normal delivery and that is what I got! I felt happy that I had stood up for myself and not been lead to go along with the doctors. My other two pregnancies went very well and I had normal deliveries with both.

Good luck for the day and hope this helps you feel a little more positive.


LadyPenelope Thu 13-Jan-05 14:09:23

Thank you so much for all your encouraging optimistic replies! Pupuce - thanks for the link to your site ... it's got lots of useful information and I'll get my husband to have a read. I actually live in Singapore - so the system is a little different to NHS. I got something from the doctor this week that said "doulas are encouraged" so I think I'll follow up to at least meet one and see what I think. Really appreciate you taking the time to share all that with me.

Thanks too Browny, Pinkmama and Beachedwhale (congrats on your new baby!) for your positive experiences. Pinkmama - that's exactly how I feel relieved but nervous... And Beachedwhale I think I will try out the cd you recommend - just need to figure out how to pay them from overseas.

I tried the yoga tonight - very relaxing and got rid of a stress headache I'd had since lunchtime. I will definitely keep doing that.

Thanks for the suggestion of the reflexology unicorn. I know some people love it but any time I've tried pre pregnancy I've found it tourture! So think I'll give it a miss... really painful and NOT enjoyable at all for me!

Marina - in Singapore, because I'm going through private sector, I have my own obstrician. It's him that's being encouraging and saying I should be able to try. So guess I'm lucky in that respect. (BTW, full of beans may be taking it too far, but I'm feeling well which is the main thing!)

And I'll bear your advice in mind suzywong and try to keep it in perspective and not to be disappointed if it doesn't work out.

Any other ideas still welcome ...

rosies Sun 16-Jan-05 22:23:50

hi ladypenelope,

interesting that you say reflexology has been painful for you... has that been in singapore? if so, its probabaly more like thai reflexology/ foot massage which is quite painful... eastern therapies do seem to be!

as far as i am concerned, it should never hurt... discomfort and sensitivity, yes, but not pain. it would be interesting to know which areas were painful and if they related to issues at the time.

morocco Sun 16-Jan-05 22:58:04

hi lady penelope
definitely try for vbac!!!! read as much as it is possible to on the internet and don't trust you obs blindly but check out his c section rates and vbac rates just to be sure (altho it's great of course that he is so encouraging) I am sadly very cynical about obs these days, after starting out as a totally naive believe everything kindagirl but my obs waited until the last 2 weeks to start planting seeds of doubt and looking for any excuse to get the knife out. She ahd previously been totally encouraging from my very first visit to her - I suspect she simply waited til she thought she'd 'got' me, Luckily this time round I'd already done my homework and was able to stand up for myself and insist on giving it a go (with another obs that I changed to at week 37). It all went swimmingly and I stayed at home the max I could before going in to the hospital so there was no time for too much intervention. It's good to be prepared so ask if your doc feels any special procedures will be nec for you eg monitoring, and decide how you feel about that - better to negotiate now than in labour!
to prepare for the birth I did lots of squat style sitting in the evening in front of the telly in the last few weeks and tried to walk as much as possible: I also tried to steer clear of the obs as much as pos in the last few weeks when she'd started waving the scalpel round metaphorically speaking:
my vbac was a fab experience and I'd totally recommend trying. I look back on mine as a result of all my hard work not just in labour but in being so well informed in the end (thro mumsnet and other internet vbac searches)that there were no 'surprises' - so I would say the key is being informed (of course, I don't mean that you are guaranteed a vbac if you know a lot about it or vice versa)
That said of course, it's the baby you get at the end that really counts, no matter how they arrive in this world.
lots and lots of positive vibes and well wishes

LadyPenelope Fri 21-Jan-05 03:43:30

Yes, rosies, the reflexology was in Singapore - can't remember exactly where it was painful just that the whole experience was torture!

Morocco - thanks for your experience. I'll discussed c-section rates with my obs.

LadyPenelope Tue 22-Feb-05 15:05:22

Just thought I'd give you all an update... I'm now 35w, and found out last week that baby is now breech. Arggghhh! So frantically doing the recommended excercises and tried accupuncture today! MW is going to have a feel at childbirth classes tomorrow night and see if he/she has moved since I haven't got a clue what bits I'm feeling. Doctor reckoned that if baby didn't turn before 37 weeks then I was out of luck and I'll be booking in for a c-section.
On a positive note, if baby does turn, then I think I am going to get a doula. The mw at our antenatal classes is a doula and dh also likes her and from the excellent description she gave, is now much more comfortable with the idea and sees how she would help me. But if it's a c-section, we'll just do it together.

Merlin Tue 22-Feb-05 15:17:57

LadyP - just thought I'd add my bit! I'm about 12 days behind you and just had appt. with consultant to discuss VBAC/section. She is encouraging me to try VBAC which, like you initially, has got me panicking a bit! I have a scan at 37 weeks, and if babe is breech then it's section at 39 weeks. However, after loads of encouraging info from people and Pupuce on here I'm going to investigate a doula too. My hospital is extremely busy and I know that I wont have the luxury of a m/w with me throughout labour so a doula sounds very reassuring doesn't it What is your actual due date by the way? Good luck with whatever route you take!

cori Tue 22-Feb-05 20:09:23

Acupunture is supposed to be useful. I will be giving it a go myself, will be trying for VBAC in about 7 months time. Let me know how you get on, and about anything you find that works.

franke Tue 22-Feb-05 20:26:11

Just want to add my support for trying for a vbac - there's been lots of good advice here. I had a successful vbac last May. I live in Germany and don't speak German so I couldn't actually communicate effectively with the midwife and doctor during labour. I honestly think this really helped - my dh fought all the battles for me so I could just withdraw into myself and get on with birthing my ds. This is maybe partly what a doula would do for you, so would be a good idea to find one.
Also agree that trying to be fairly benign about the outcome also helps - I wanted to try for a vbac but was relaxed about it ending with a cs if necessary - at least I would have given it a go. But I was so happy with the outcome - ds came out a 6.00am and we were all home by lunchtime! Good luck .

pupuce Tue 22-Feb-05 20:28:26

Ladypenelope.... I hope that baby of yours does get head down. I am delighted you have found a doula/birth partner.... it will make the world of difference .
Good luck and keep us posted !

LadyPenelope Wed 23-Feb-05 14:48:24

Just back from childbirth classes and baby still feet down Off to do my excerises and booked in for second accupuncture session on Saturday.

LadyPenelope Thu 14-Apr-05 14:07:59

Well, thought I should give the final installment for this thread...
Beautiful DS was born on Sat 26th March, 8lbs 2 oz ... by VBAC! It took us 14 hours of active labour and forceps but it was worth it!

Firstly, either accupunture or exercises or combination of both, got baby to turn at 36 weeks. So then we just had to wait...

Went into labour on Good Friday at about 2am ... slept on and off until 6am and then got up. Doula came over at around 11am as contractions were about 30 secs long and 5 mins or so apart... but as soon as she arrived they stopped!!! She gave me internal and I was 4cms... but contractions didn't start up even though we walked and walked and walked. So at her recommendation, I went to bed for a few hours. Contractions started again around 2pm and we headed for hospital around 4pm.

It was a long night... contractions were steady and bearable ... spent a lot of time walking, leaning, breathing, on bouncy ball thing and then about 4 hours in the bath... Doula was fab - would never have made it to this point without an epidural without her... and being mobile really helped.

Then around 10pm doctor checked me... baby really high ... at doula's suggestion he agreed he should break waters... Contractions immediately got MUCH worse and couldn't bear it ... called for epidural and coped with gas and air and her support for the 30 mins it took to happen.

Over next few hours baby still didn't move but I did fully dilate. At around 3am they started getting me to push but baby didn't like it so they called for doctor... at this point I thought I was definitely heading for c-section.

Doctor came in, checked me and baby and told me to push again ... pushed for 30 mins or so and baby didn't move at all!!! Again, reckoned I was going for c-section, but with support of doula and dh I pushed and doctor tugged ds out with forceps.

DS delivered onto my chest and after being checked over and weighed doula got us both started on breast feeding which worked like a dream.

She was the most mavellous support for me and for DH who was scared and concerned during the later stages of labour. She was a total rock!

In spite of episotopmy, I've recoverd much quicker than from c-section. I would definitely recommend VBAC to anyone considering it but would also recommend that you have supportive doctor who will help you and a midwife or doula to support you. IME, it really helps.

Thanks again to everyone here who offered advice a few weeks ago... and Merlin... what news of your baby?

unicorn Thu 14-Apr-05 14:10:16

Well done and congratulations
Really glad you got to birth the way you wanted.
I'm sure pupuce will be very interested in the doula help.

btw What's his name?

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