Independent Childbirth is sponsoring Orgasmic Birth screenings across the country. One mother shared a copy of a VBAC Consent Form she was asked to sign. Many hospitals ban VBAC altogether either legally because their insurance carriers will not protect them or with a “de facto” (in practice) ban. Some hospitals do still allow them, and this form does a fair job of pointing out the risks and benefits of both a repeat C-section and a VBAC. However, it does not point out that women have up to a 3.6x higher risk of death if they have a C-section versus a vaginal birth. Here is a more complete and detailed list of the risks and benefits of both an attempted VBAC and a repeat C-section, based on the available research. Nowhere on the list does it list the risks of cesarean to the unborn baby. Did you know that your future babies’ health in utero is at risk when a cesarean is performed? This is because the growth of scar tissue cannot be controlled. We know of babies born prematurely as their placentas could not adhere at the scar tissue site from mom’s previous c-section. No, we don’t provide this information to scare you out of having a cesarean. If it’s necessary, it’s necessary. Please, the decision to have a cesarean is a serious one. You deserve to know all of the risks and you deserve to know what care practices can lead to unnecessary cesareans, repeat, unnecessary cesareans.
Many doctors state they don’t want to scare women about the risks of the procedures they use for birth care. Doctor, you need practice in communication skills. Women can handle hearing the truth! The risk of death to their baby is nearly 3 times that of vaginal birth. (This is for low-risk women!) Or, what about these risks now or in the future?
Here is a slightly different VBAC informed consent form, and the preface reads like this, in part:
Although the risks of a uterine rupture with a prior low-transverse uterine scar are not higher than the unanticipated risks of other complications that may arise during childbirth, in some communities, women who wish to try for a VBAC rather than schedule an elective repeat cesarean are often expected to assume responsibility for any or all negative outcomes.
To lower the risk of liability, some malpractice insurance companies in the United States have developed VBAC consent forms that physicians are required to discuss with patients who wish to labor after one or more cesareans. Some of these consent forms overstate the risks for laboring for a VBAC or minimize the risks for planning an elective repeat cesarean.
But some “informed consent” forms just ignore the risks of a C-section altogether! This webpage is just such an example, but it has been annotated by someone who is obviously very pro-VBAC to discuss more of the risk-benefit ratio of the two procedures.
The greatest obstacle to women’s health today is lack of public dialogue. Get yourself to an independent childbirth class where we want to hear YOU. We can provide answers outright and answers that help you discover for yourself what you want from your birth.