Earlier I blogged about the VBAC article in Time magazine, and now the awesome, wonderful, and amazing volunteers of ICAN have put together a comprehensive list of all the hospitals in America, and whether they allow VBACs or not. The number of hours that it took for all the volunteers to call the hospitals and enter the information was incredible — somebody estimated that it would have taken $100,000, had they been paid, so this truly was a tremendous effort.
Unfortunately almost half of the hospitals have either a formal VBAC ban or a de facto VBAC ban — that is, there is no official policy against allowing VBACs at that hospital, but no doctor will actually attend one.
But just because a hospital is listed as “allowing” VBACs doesn’t mean you’ll actually get one, or that it will be easy. Many of the volunteers who called hospitals noted that many hospitals or doctors had such strict guidelines for the VBACs they allowed that it would be difficult for anyone to actually have a successful VBAC. Some restrictions include that the woman has to have had a successful VBAC already in order to attempt another one, or at least that she has to have a “proven pelvis” — a vaginal birth. That means that if her first baby was breech and she’s currently pregnant with her second, then she will not be allowed even a chance at a vaginal birth. Other hospitals won’t allow women who have had more than one C-section to attempt a VBAC. Some hospitals or doctors require that women attempting a VBAC to give birth by 5:00 p.m., or be wheeled back for an automatic C-section — regardless of any other factor!