Choosing a VBAC-friendly doctor or midwife is the best way to increase your chances of having a successful vaginal birth after Cesarean. If your previous maternity care provider is not encouraging about your plans to experience a vaginal birth, seek alternate care or a second opinion. Here’s how to find a VBAC-friendly doctor or midwife in Northern Virginia:
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists supports VBAC and VBA2C as safe options for giving birth. Still, some maternity care providers feel that repeat C-sections are best, especially under certain (sometimes scientifically unsupported) circumstances.
Who is a Good Candidate for VBAC?
You and your current pregnancy are unique. That’s why it is important to discuss whether attempting a VBAC is right for you with a VBAC-friendly doctor or midwife. Your primary care provider may consider the type of incision you received, the reason for your previous C-section(s), and more.
VBAC-Friendly Doctors and Maternity Care Provider Options
Your primary care provider is the person who monitors, assesses, and advises you about your overall medical wellness during pregnancy. They provide medical care, various testing, can provide prescriptions, offer referrals, and might be the person who catches your baby. As a primary care provider, you may choose:
- a maternal-fetal medicine doctor
- an OBGYN
- a family practitioner
- a CNM (Certified Nurse Midwife) based in a hospital
- an out-of-hospital midwife for home birth or birth at a birth center
Choosing a VBAC-Friendly Doctor or Midwife
We recommend scheduling an appointment with potential maternity care providers. When booking, make it clear that this appointment is an interview and you intend to discuss VBAC.
During an interview, you can often identify a VBAC-friendly doctor by asking about their Cesarean section and VBAC rates. Many primary care providers display this information on their website or Facebook page. The ICAN of Northern Virginia website has a list of provider VBAC rates available from 2006. Individual VBAC rates for maternity care providers are not currently collected in Virginia. Suppose a potential primary care provider is unsure of what their VBAC or c-section rates are. In that case, ICANofNOVA recommends asking how many of the ten most recent births they attended were surgical. A doctor or midwife who is uncomfortable with these questions is unlikely to support your VBAC.
More Questions to Ask About VBAC
You can further discover how supportive of VBAC a doctor or midwife is by asking questions about the maternity care they provide. A VBAC-friendly doctor or midwife will answer yes to most of these questions:
- Do you attend VBAC births regularly?
- Are at least 80% of the VBAC births you attend successful?
- Do you recommend non-stress tests as an alternative to induction when pregnancy progresses past the estimated due date?
- Are pregnant people of all ages able to VBAC?
- Can parents with diabetes safely attempt VBAC?
- Do you feel comfortable with clients laboring without an IV?
- May patients attempting a VBAC labor without an epidural?
- If you require ultrasound evaluation of previous cesarean scar tissue, do you have clear cut-off values?
- Can VBAC be a safe option for overweight parents?
- Do you believe it is unnecessary to schedule a repeat cesarean birth, “just in case,” when planning a VBAC?
You can also ask about the hospital or birth center’s C-section and VBAC rates and whether any policies might impact your chances of successful VBAC.
Work with a Certified VBAC Doula to Find a VBAC-Friendly Doctor in Northern VA
A Certified VBAC Doula can help you by recommending specific VBAC-friendly doctors in Northern Virginia. You can also work with your doula to prepare a list of questions for your current doctor or midwife. A Certified VBAC Doula understands local hospital and birth center culture and stays up-to-date on policies that may impact your chances of VBAC success.
If a Certified VBAC Doula might be right for you, learn more about our VBAC Doula Package designed to prepare you for birth after a previous Cesarean section.