Women pursue a vaginal birth after caesarean for any number of reasons. It really isn't as cut and dry as it's often made out to be.
If you're a woman out there unsure about what path to take on the journey to your next birth after caesarean, here's a list of most common reasons I see women wanting to have a VBAC. If they resonate with you, maybe it's something you would like to explore yourself.
Being able to lift/care for other children after birth
This a huge motivator, which makes perfect sense! It usually isn't the only reason women plan a VBAC, but it is easily one of the most common reasons.
To experience of labour and/or vaginal birth
Women generally only get the chance to experience labour and birth a few times (or less) in their lives. It should come as no surprise that women are actually pretty invested in getting that experience.
Better/easier physical recovery
Also hardly a surprise that if we can be in better physical condition afterwards, we might prefer that.
Avoid the physical and emotional implications of a caesarean
Many women out there who suffered not just physically, but also struggled emotionally after their caesareans and want to avoid having to go through it all again.
Taking back control of my birth and body
Lots of women report feeling like they had no control over what happened to them in labour and birth during their caesarean and the lead up to it. Naturally, in their next birth, they want to regain that control and be the decision-makers in charge of what happens to their body once again.
To be able to hold baby immediately after birth
This is a really big one, and I don't think need much more explanation!
Using my body for its intended purpose
Similar to wanting to experience labour and birth, but I do always feel like this one is another step deeper than that. It's about reclaiming the power of the female body and doing what you know your body is able to, given an actual chance.
Because my caesarean was a traumatic experience
Enough said, really. Wanting a birth experience that is not traumatising is as good a reason as any.
To be able to witness baby being born
Women wanting to avoid missing those first moment, minutes, or even hours sometimes, of their baby's life earthside.
Feeling my true power and strength
I love this one. Women who just want to be able to push themselves to the limits that labour and birth demand of us and feel just how strong and powerful they are.
Because my caesarean was unnecessary
*mic drop* Women who want to take back their birth after realising (either at the time or since) that they didn't need a caesarean in the first place
To reap the hormonal and physiological benefits of vaginal birth
Another favourite of mine, because I think this one often has the tendency to be left out of the picture. There are significant benefits of vaginal birth, for both mum and baby. You can't make an informed decision without information. It doesn't mean that a caesarean is never the right choice, but it's still important information to be aware of if it is something that will affect your decision making.
To reduce risks for potential future births
Similar to above, I think this is another issue that is simply not touched on enough. The more caesareans, the more risky pregnancy and birth get each time, whether those future births are more caesareans or vaginal births.
To improve breastfeeding journey
Lots of women out there who found their breastfeeding journeys were derailed by their caesareans who are eager to have an easier and more positive experience with their next baby.
Less medical intervention/avoiding medical system
For some, it's just about steering clear of intervention and the medical system as much as they can. Totally reasonable, especially in birth, which is pretty much the only non-pathological reason that we attend hospital.
To heal from the trauma of the first birth
This list is actually in order from most commonly reported to least, and it's interesting to me that this one is specifically reported the least often out of this list. I think in part it's because it's so much more than just healing, but also because I think that part of it is so obvious that it feels unnecessary to mention. Having a VBAC is not a guarantee of healing from trauma, but it can go a long way to restoring faith in your body, yourself and rebuilding your confidence.
So, that's what I tend to hear out in the VBAC world - do you have a reason not listed here? Let me know, leave a comment below!
My name is Katelyn Commerford and I am a doula and next birth after caesarean guide located in Western Sydney. 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.
Katelyn Commerford - Doula and NBAC Guide
Phone: 0431 369 352