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Book Review: Birth After Caesarean by Hazel Keedle

I was thrilled to be able to make one of Hazel's launch events and get my hands on a copy of this book she has written all about the birth after caesarean (which if you know anything about me, is my absolute favourite birth-related topic... possibly my favourite topic overall).

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Titled "Birth After Caesarean: Your Journey to a Better Birth", Hazel (who is really Dr. Hazel, thanks to her PhD) writes about all things related to VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean), with a small addition in the end of the book about choosing a gentle, repeat caesarean.

Hazel herself had a VBAC and, even as a midwife, had to fight for it in the hospital. She became a passionate advocate for women's right to VBAC and ended up going into research to learn more about their experiences.

This book touches on aspects of her different research, but especially her PhD which was based around women's experiences of planning a VBAC in Australia.

She visits all the questions people generally have about VBAC: the risks, the benefits, VBAC outside of the what guidelines suggest is safe, risks of a repeat caesarean, those supposed VBAC calculators, and then of course, what impacts your likelihood of having a VBAC.

She identifies four key factors that influence women's experiences of their VBAC journey, regardless of how they ended up birthing. What I loved about this was how much I could relate - the four factors (Control, Confidence, Relationship, Active Labour - all expanded on much more in the book) were totally in line with what I feel made the difference in my VBAC journey and made that birth an empowering and positive experience despite having a second unwanted caesarean. In fact, much of how my mentoring program is set up is based around what made a difference in my birth experience, and now I can say that I know it is backed by what the research says makes a difference!

Hazel dedicates a whole chapter to each of her four factors which explains how that factor can affect your experience in your VBAC journey, and talks about what you can do to about it.

Finally, the last chapter is a selection of women's VBAC stories. I really took my time reading through this chapter, absorbing these amazing stories of strength, resilience, power, and love. My background is in the arts - I was a sound designer for theatre, and I believe wholeheartedly in the power of storytelling. Telling and listening to stories is how we learn; how we challenge and affirm our beliefs and values. I've been an avid reader and listener of birth stories since well before falling pregnant with my first baby, and today, it's one of my favourite past times. The stories Hazel has included are a brilliant snapshot of how the VBAC journey is so different for everyone and how having so-called 'risk factors' does not exclude you from a VBAC.

If you're planning a birth after caesarean, this book should be at the top of your reading list - grab your copy here! Not affiliated, just enthusiastic ;-)


My name is Katelyn Commerford and I am a doula and next birth after caesarean guide who has completed comprehensive doula education. If you want to know more about what I do and how I can help you, please visit my website where you can get your free cheat sheet of my favourite VBAC resources, or find me on instagram @thenbacguide where I answer commonly asked questions about planning the next birth after caesarean and share loads pregnancy, birth, postpartum and parenting content.

Business Name: Katelyn Commerford - Doula and NBAC Guide

Phone: 0431 369 352

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