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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Julie's Health Club: Fighting for a VBAC


Want a vaginal birth after cesarean delivery (VBAC)? You may have to fight for it.

Though women overwhelmingly support the idea of VBAC, they also report pressure to have repeat C-sections, according to the Listening to Mothers survey, which was commissioned by the Childbirth Connection.

But what happens when you don't trust your doctor?

An extreme case occurred in 2008, when Gina Crosley-Corcoran was attempting a VBAC at St. Francis Hospital in Evanston. She said her doctor pushed for a C-section because her labor was taking too long.

"He said it was a case of ‘failure to progress’ at which point I shot back, ‘No! It’s a failure to WAIT!’" Crosley-Corcoran wrote on her blog, "The Feminist Breeder."

But doctor Thomas Herriges, who has delivered more than 5,000 babies, said he recommends a C-section when he feels a baby is in danger. And when a goal-oriented mother in labor tries to control the scenario—and loses confidence in her doctor--it can lead to a disaster, he said.

"Obstetrics can go from very good to very bad in the blink of an eye," Herriges said. "Patients sometimes think ‘What I’ve read isn’t what’s happening, therefore what’s happening is wrong.’ It becomes a control issue and they want to steer it in the direction they want to go."

Crosley-Corcoran adamantly refused to have a C-section and said she even called lawyers and the International Cesarean Awareness Network from her hospital room. Nearly two days after her labor started, she vaginally delivered her baby boy Jules, who was 9-pounds, 10-ounces. 

The experience was so life-changing that Crosley-Corcoran, once a rock musician, now heads the DuPage County chapter of ICAN.

"Getting my VBAC was the most important thing I've ever done in my life, but no woman should ever have to fight through what I did to birth vaginally," said Crosley-Corcoran, who endured 38 hours of labor.

"I would tell other woman to find a provider who is going to support them, someone who knows about normal, healthy birth (and doesn't look for any excuse to use non-evidence based obstetric interventions) and someone who respects them has a real person. I would also tell them that trained labor support (a doula) can make all the difference."

Julie's Health Club: Fighting for a VBAC

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