Perhaps the best things you can do to prepare for a VBAC happen before a single contraction even starts. Making sure you take care of your body, clear away any trauma or fears, and mentally prepare for the VBAC journey is critical to having the best birth experience possible. I wanted to share a list of my 10 Must-Haves to help you prepare your mind and body for a successful VBAC.
1. PRENATAL VITAMINS THAT WORK
This is #1 for me today and every day. Whether you are pregnant, trying to conceive, or already had your baby, it is important to be supplementing with the right multivitamin. I was sad to learn that most prenatals just don’t have the right combination of what we need, and many women, even the ones taking a multivitamin, are not getting the right vitamins and minerals. I am a huge fan of the NEEDED prenatal complex and got our mamas a 20% off promotion. Click here and enter code VBAC20 at checkout for energy, nausea control, and baby’s development.
In an ideal world, VBAC parents would be treated just like any other birthing parents. Unfortunately, the reality is, they are not. Our VBAC Preparation Course provides the foundation you and your partner need to feel confident about your choice to VBAC by providing parents with evidence-based information.
3. MENTAL PREPARATION
Kriya is a yoga meditation technique that we encourage you to practice and use daily to help you get grounded, centered, and ready for birth. Grab a yoga mat and take a nice deep breath. Slowly lift your hands up above your head and take another deep breath. Close your eyes and feel your body at that very moment. What is your mind telling you? Your arms will get heavy and mentally you will want to drop your arms. Find your thoughts and talk back to them. “YOU are strong. This is temporary. My body is strong. I believe in my ability to get through this moment.” This can be done daily, training our minds and bodies to work together and be one.
4. VBAC DOULA
Doulas are a key component for success in achieving your VBAC. Doulas really know birth (click here to find more information on what doulas do). Doulas will let you know what is normal and not, and can help guide you through the birth process and navigate the shifts in the room. Doulas also know the best chiropractors, providers, acupuncturists, and whatever else you need as you get ready for your VBAC. The full list of benefits of having a doula can be found here. The VBAC Link trains and certifies doulas specifically in helping VBAC parents and you can find the list of VBAC-certified doulas here. Feel free to interview a few doulas and find one that seems like they may be a good fit. To help you we have put together a list of interview questions here that you can use while interviewing them.
There is a lot of misinformation in the world about VBAC and even more about VBAMC. It may be a cliche, but knowledge is power, and this collection of books can be one of the many resources to help you have a vaginal birth after a Cesarean. Here are some of our favorite books: from Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth to Baby Got VBAC.
6. SUPPORTIVE PROVIDER
We talk a lot about providers and how to find them in our How to VBAC course for Parents, but the bottom line is the best things you can do for your chances of having a successful VBAC are finding a VBAC-supportive doctor or midwife, and giving birth in a VBAC supportive and friendly hospital, birth center, or at home with a VBAC midwife.
7. CESAREAN SCAR CARE
There are so many variations of what is normal when it comes to cesarean scar. Take the time to massage or touch your scar – this can break up the scar tissue that may be causing the pain and rough appearance. A physical or pelvic floor therapist can be a great resource to teach you scar massage. We recommend daily massage using this scar oil and/or wearing these patches for at least 12 hours daily. Take note: If you are expecting, scar massage may not be appropriate. Make sure to chat with your provider or pelvic floor therapist to see what the best scar care plan is for you.
8. BIRTHING BALL
A birthing ball is essentially a large ball, similar to an exercise or yoga ball, but designed for use during pregnancy, labor, and birth. With a larger size and non-slip material, a birthing ball is more comfortable to sit on and lean over during pregnancy and birth. Birthing ball has many uses during pregnancy and birth (great article about it here) and can even be used to induce labor.
9. PODCAST & POSITIVE SPACE
One of the latest reviewers said it best “This podcast is a treasure trove of inspiring stories which helped me regain confidence in my body and have a beautiful VBAC with my second baby last year. Thank you for being such a huge part of my healing journey!”. Join us (Just search The VBAC Link wherever you can listen to a podcast: Spotify, Apple, etc) as we share VBAC birth stories to educate and inspire.
Last but not least, the key to success is community. You may already be a member of our online community (yay to 16,000+ mamas all supporting each other). If not, we hope you join. You will read stories, struggles, and questions of other mamas just like you who are preparing for their VBAC. It is a safe space for voicing fears, working through concerns, and all the support we all need.
I will leave you today with this affirmation and a reminder: There are so many decisions to make regarding pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period. When you feel confused or overwhelmed about making a decision, take a minute to yourself. Close your eyes, take deep breaths, and turn inward. YOU know your body and baby better than anyone. Your intuition is your greatest tool. Trust yourself! Trust your gut! You are a woman of strength!
Grateful to be supporting you on this journey! If you would like to learn more about the history of c-section, VBAC, and the differences between the two, check out our VBAC prep course for parents. And as always feel free to email us with any questions.
– Meagan and The VBAC Link Team