Updated on: Mar 2, 2023
There is a lot of misinformation in the world about VBAC and even more about VBAMC. This can leave parents planning a VBAC having to dig deep into preparation to make the best decisions for themselves and their baby. 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.
From 2016-2018 VBAC rates increased 13.3%. VBAC “success” rates with people with one to two cesareans are between 63-85%. This might be surprising, considering the Cesarean rate in the United States in 2021 is 32.1%.
So, how can those having a TOLAC be more likely to have a vaginal birth than those without a prior Cesarean? It is really an interesting thought to have. We can’t say those who haven’t had a C-Section don’t get educated, but we have noticed those who want to have a VBAC tend to be hyper-focused on ways to enhance their chances ie, education. Birth classes, learn from evidence-based resources, and read books, especially VBAC books.
They also dial in on learning how to find a VBAC-friendly provider, the risks for VBAC and repeat Cesarean, how a doula can benefit your birth outcomes, and how to find support all increase your chances of having a vaginal birth.
In addition, these parents often read and listen to VBAC birth stories and work hard to find support from women who have had a VBAC, CBAC (Cesarean Birth After Cesarean), and even uterine ruptures . All of this will help you be more prepared. Not only that, it can help you not feel so alone or frustrated if things don’t go as planned. In addition to these wonderful books, we invite you to join our Facebook community of over 15,000 women preparing for their VBACs by clicking here.
Below we have compiled a list of some of our and our community’s favorite and most popular birth/VBAC books. We hope reading them will make you feel more empowered and confident as you prepare for your upcoming birth.
If you only read one book during your pregnancy, we hope you make it Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth. It can be a little hippy-dippy for some, but we love this book for the beautiful and natural way she describes the birth, an array of helpful and practical tips, and moving birth stories. If you are close to the end of your pregnancy, skip the book’s first half with birth stories, and start with her insights in the second part of the book. It is such a great read.
This book was written by Melissa Bruijn, midwife and childbirth educator, and Debby Gould, VBAC mom, and educator, the founders of birthtalk.org™. “How to Heal a Bad Birth; making sense, making peace, and moving on” is not VBAC specific but critical to processing your prior Cesarean, especially if it was traumatic.
While we don’t love the title and word “bad,” this book is an invaluable guide for both women and their partners who have experienced a disappointing, challenging, or traumatic birth. You will begin to understand what happened to you and have the tools to help you process and heal.
Often women are told to ‘just get over it,’ or ‘healthy mother, healthy baby… that’s all that matters.’
We know it’s not that simple and that your emotional health matters too.
This book will help you:
- Discover & process the emotional impact of your birth
- Strengthen and understand the relationship with your partner (and helps them process, too)
- Rediscover your relationship with your child
- Deal with emotions like failure, guilt, sadness, fear, and anger
- Start to plan for a better experience for your next birth
Baby Got VBAC is written by multiple moms who have had a C-section; some of the contributing authors are our VBAC doulas and some have shared their stories on our podcast! They all share their birth stories after Cesarean, mostly VBAC.
The women writing their stories are VBAC moms or birth professionals who support VBAC moms. All have diverse backgrounds and different perspectives to share about VBAC and Cesarean.
Their real-life experiences and wisdom bring you into their journey and will leave you full of strength, wisdom, hope, and inspiration. There is something for everyone to relate to in the chapters of this book, whether first-time mom, or fifth-time mom, you will laugh, cry, learn, and feel the love from these beautiful women of strength.
Hazel Keedle is amazing. We had her on the podcast in episode 209, where she shared her own story and how this wonderful book came about. She has used the knowledge she gained during her Ph.D. and woven this together with women’s stories in a truly delightful way. This is a very accessible book that directly talks to women, with great sensitivity demonstrated through the use of woman-centered, de-medicalized language. This book has a lot of amazing stats and graphs as well.
Whether you are a momma preparing for your VBAC or a birth worker wanting to learn more, this book is filled with incredible information and heartwarming stories.
If you enjoy the documentary The Business of Being Born, you will love this journalistic narrative about obstetric care. It dives deep into the significant questions about women’s maternal rights in the United States.
“Pushed” offers a detailed overview of the hospital birth system and what other options are available to parents. It was published in 2007, so some things the book describes have changed, but many have not.
Author Jennifer Block traveled around the country and witnessed many types of births, from planned Cesarean to underground homebirth, and investigates whether routine Cesareans, inductions, and epidurals equate to improved birth outcomes.
Her experiences reveal that while emergency obstetric care is crucial, much evidence supports that medical technology and interventions are overused, sacrificing mother and infant health. For parents and birth professionals alike, it takes experience and knowledge. It packages it together to make it relatable to all people— first-time moms, VBAC moms, and the caretakers who oversee their care. It is the information every parent never knew they needed to know.
Disclaimer: This book details traumatic stories and events that may not be appropriate for those processing their own traumatic birth experiences.
Written by Helen Churchill, “VBAC After Cesarean: The VBAC Handbook” provides suggestions for practical ways to prepare for VBAC and shares VBAC stories.
The book is based on stories and information from healthcare practices and parents in England, but much of it applies to parents everywhere. It discusses the pros and cons of VBAC and repeat Cesarean in detail, and as a shorter book (104 pages), it’s concise and to the point.
I especially appreciate the glossary of terms in The VBAC Handbook, as the medical terminology surrounding childbirth can be confusing.
With many Cesarean births performed due to failure to progress, Gail Tulley’s wisdom and expertise in optimal fetal positioning are a must-read for anyone who wants to know the best ways to ensure their baby is in the best position for birth.
Gail is the founder of Spinning Babies, and her belief and education in physiologic birth will increase your confidence in your own body’s ability to birth vaginally.
This VBAC book provides a much deeper understanding of the WHY for Spinning Babies exercises and labor positions for nurses and providers, so it doesn’t seem like such a foreign concept.
“Changing Birth on Earth” is written to teach both parents and their care team how to work together to prevent Cesareans due to poor fetal positioning, gain a fresh perspective on birth anatomy and techniques to encourage labor progress, and choose more optimal positions to shorten the pushing stage of labor, among many other things.
Offering insights into the space between all medicine vs. all-natural birth approaches, this book offers a brilliant guide to a New Birth Paradigm that balances and weaves the wisdom of what Gail calls a ‘supportive web for the body of birth.’ She blends storytelling, science, and wisdom into a practical and humane complication of principles, practices, and protocols to support the birthing process, to teach both parents and providers how to work with the body’s natural physiology before using force, and to reduce as many unnecessary cesareans and traumatic birth stories as possible.
Birthing from Within is a terrific book that really helps to alleviate the fears that many women often struggle with surrounding childbirth. Pam England does an excellent job of providing a fair and balanced perspective. She discusses the benefits of natural and home birth without oversimplifying the issues. This book is not VBAC-specific but it is one that we definitely suggest reading.
Authored by Helene Vadeboncoer, Ph.D. and VBAC mom, this is one of our go-to recommendations for VBAC education. Helen’s VBAC and Cesarean experiences inspired her to get her Ph.D. and study how hospital birth experiences shape such an important event in women’s lives. Although we know the term birthing “normally” doesn’t connect with everyone the book is filled with really amazing content.
Birthing Normally After a Cesarean or Two dives deep into research about VBAC and Cesarean and couples it with parents’ experiences and first-hand accounts. You get the benefits from accurate and up-to-date information and real-life experiences presented in an upbeat and easy-to-read book. It will help heal emotional scars that some Cesarean birth leave behind while preparing you with the information you need to prepare for a different birth experience next time.
Need more than a book? Created by Julie Francom and Meagan Heaton, VBAC moms, and birth doulas, we dive deep into everything you never knew you needed to know about Cesarean and VBAC.
This is an online, self-paced video course that comes with 6+ hours of video content (accessible on any device at any time), a 120-page digital or physical copy of a workbook designed to help you be fully prepared for birth after Cesarean, and a practical way to apply all the techniques and information to increase your confidence and knowledge during pregnancy and labor.
We have taken all the essential information we learned along our VBAC journeys and as birth workers and perfectly packaged it into the most optimal resources for you to prepare for VBAC.
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