One Little Word

Well-Rounded Mama has an excellent and thoughtful post on the importance of one little word — that word being the change in ACOG’s guidelines in 1999 concerning VBACs, which changed from suggesting that doctors be “readily available” to being “immediately available.” Go read the article, pass it along to your friends, blog about it, etc. Even if you have not had a C-section yet (hey, neither have I!), read this article, because you never know when you will be faced with the knife, and then be forced into subsequent C-sections from then on, for no evidence-based reason! Besides, even if it doesn’t affect you personally, it probably affects several of your friends; and the climate that allows a VBAC ban is not a beneficial attitude for any birth-related practices.

ICAN VBAC ban/allow list!!

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!

“Black Market Births”

A woman from ICAN is looking for stories of women who gave birth in hospitals with VBAC bans in place, as well as HBAC (home birth after Cesarean) stories, especially those in which HBAC is illegal. She will be doing a presentation in October to the American Public Health Association.

Click here for more information, including how to get in contact with her, to tell your story or ask your questions.