GentleBirth: Confident VBAC
I am so excited to announce GentleBirth: Confident VBAC! As any of you who have read my blog in the past know, VBAC is near and dear to my heart. Women consider or pursue VBAC from a variety of past birth experiences and for a variety of reasons. They make different choices too, and should all be encouraged to make the right choices for their unique situation from a place of information.
There are so many misconceptions out there about vaginal birth after a cesarean, some even perpetuated (either intentionally or unintentionally) by care providers. 70-80% of women who pursue VBAC, will be successful and 99% of moms will have no issue with their scar in labor. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology’s, more commonly known as ACOG, guidelines say that VBAC is a reasonable option for most women with one scar and even for many women who have had two cesareans but fears, misinformation, and barriers persist.
If you are considering a VBAC, this 4-hour course is for you! It covers recent research, risks/benefits, questions for your care provider, barriers, and how to increase you odds as well as a review of labor and comfort measures and finally, a hypnosis session at the end. But maybe more importantly, it also covers some of the emotional work that needs to happen as women face birth again. A one month subscription to the GentleBirth app to add to your birth toolbox, whether your ultimate decision is VBAC or not, as you prepare is also part of the registration fee.
The first class will be offered on July 8th, 1-5pm in Fishers. Subsequent classes dates will be found on Fireweed Doula's class page and on my GentleBirth page where registration is handled. Please, if you or someone you know is considering a VBAC, this is a class not to miss!
Next class will be February 3rd, 2018!!
6 Reasons to Plan a GentleBirth
I am passionate about positive birth experiences and helping women achieve them in my work as a doula. A positive birth can look so different than you expect it to too! Birth is often normal and straight forward but it can be unpredictable. That doesn’t need to mean negative. GentleBirth is the childbirth education course that I am privileged to be bringing to Indianapolis this spring and it’s all about planning — and having — a positive birth no matter what. Here are 6 reasons to plan a GentleBirth:
1) It has a proven hypnosis component. As we’ve seen for years now with other childbirth preparation programs, and even some surgical procedures, hypnosis works. GentleBirth is at it’s most basic, a hypnosis based program.
2) It’s based on brain science. GentleBirth, if you do the daily work, helps you literally rewire your brain. Our thoughts are pattern based and those patterns are ingrained. It is easier for our brains to think along our normal thought patterns. It takes effort and practice to break our brains out of those ruts. GentleBirth gives you the tools to do that.
3) It helps eliminate fear. The messages we get from our culture reinforce the idea that childbirth is hard and painful. That’s it’s something to be feared and avoided. Those are messages you need to counteract! Birth is normal and something our bodies are built for but sometimes our brains need a little encouragement to remember that. GentleBirth provides that encouragement.
4) It fills your toolbox! I am so excited to be part of sharing a program that promotes doulas, teaches hypnosis, mindfulness, and CBT as well as hands on tools like acupressure and TENS machines as well as all the more common positioning, massage, and ball use.
5) The App. The app has everything you need. The daily brain training, the guidebook, the workshop schedules, everything you need. There’s no more putting it off because you can’t find what you need right then. It’s in your phone.
6) Finally, it’s modern and understands your busy life. The GentleBirth classes are a one weekend commitment. That’s it. It was developed that way on purpose. We know you and your partner are both running all which way with the demands of your lives and finding time that matches up over several weeks is hard. This is a one weekend commitment. Everything else is on your app. Your practice is all laid out for you and parts can be done in as little as 5 minutes at a time.
GentleBirth gives you the tools you need for a natural, normal birth AND the tools to transition from that, if necessary, and still have a positive birth. You and your baby are worth it! If you are interested in finding out more, come by one of our meet ups or contact me through Facebook or the contact page. See you soon!
Looking for a comprehensive childbirth class? Thinking about a VBAC?
VBAC Book Review
I thought I'd try something new here. I've been reading so much for GentleBirth certification and now for the VBAC class I'm taking too, I thought I'd pass on my take on a valuable book available here.
Birth after Cesarean by Jenny Lesley and published by the volunteer group Association for improvements in the Maternity Services is a very encouraging and positive book about normal birth. It’s full of snippets from women and beautiful birth stories. It’s truly a book that understand the emotional reasons why women choose VBAC and fits with the GentleBirth philosophy.
After an introductory chapter about why women choose VBAC and really why women should be encouraged in that direction, the rest of the book is all about the numbers and dispelling myths surrounding VBAC.
Chapter 2 focuses on risks of cesareans and how those risks go up with each cesarean. Our maternity system seems to focus on the risk of VBAC and gloss over the risks of cesarean. This happens for a variety of reasons not the least of which is because doctors often feel more in control of a surgery than they do in a normal birth. The risk that’s most often talked about in VBAC is a uterine rupture. This is the focus of Chapter 3. This is a real risk but as is pointed out, a small one even with multiple scars and it’s not limited to women with surgical history.
Some women wonder if they should even bother trying for a VBAC. They fear that they will just end up back in surgery. Chapter 4 addresses this. Most women who try for a VBAC get their VBAC. There are some situations where that doesn’t happen, of course, but even then, the repeat cesarean is often less traumatic because the birth woman knows what to expect and she was part of that decision.
Chapter 5 weighs the risks and benefits of VBAC vs. an elective repeat cesarean. This is important. Risks on both side of this equation are low. There is not a black and white right answer for every woman. Every one needs to make a decision based on information and their own particular situation. There are real risks and benefits on both sides.
Chapter 6 dispels the myths that are often brought up about why women might be told they “can’t” have a VBAC. As a mom who has had more than one cesarean, I particularly appreciated the positive portrayal of vaginal births after more than on cesarean. But really, even if you are told your baby is too big, you are too old, your baby is breech, it’s too soon, you have the wrong kind of scar, you’re having multiples, the numbers are still in your favor. Women have options!
Chapters 7 & 8 are about planning for and making VBAC more likely and include beautiful birth stories including the author’s own HWBA3C (home water birth after 3 cesareans). Choosing care providers and birthing locations carefully and making sure the necessary support is in place increase women’s chances significantly. To birth normally, women need to be comfortable and relaxed in their chosen place of birth.
No book on VBAC would be complete without information about repeat cesareans and this is the topic of Chapter 9. They are a reality and sometimes the solution. A positive birth is possible even in the event that a cesarean becomes the best option.
I really enjoyed this book and I’ll be recommending it to women who are making decisions about future births after a cesarean. The one limitation is has is that it’s written primarily for the UK and the medical system there. The process of transferring care and moving from home to hospital just isn’t as fluid here as it is there and that needs to mentioned.
On March 25th, I'm hosting my first GentleBirth Meetup! We'll talk about positive birth and all things baby and parenting related. I'll be demoing the GentleBirth app as well. This program has the potential to really change birth for women and make it something they are anticipating. So excited to share this unique program! You can RSVP via the Facebook event here (not necessary) or find out more information here.
I'd love to see lots of people there! If you are a birth worker a more specific birth worker information session will be happening soon!
GentleBirth coming to Indy!
Yesterday was a special day! Nine years ago yesterday, I started my doula journey with the birth of my oldest daughter. I blogged about that last year here. This year, yesterday marks the beginning of something new. I officially completed my certification to be a GentleBirth instructor!
I am so excited about this new opportunity and this new option in childbirth education that I am privileged to bring to Indiana. I’ve not come across anything quite like it. It’s based in the latest brain science. Incorporating mindfulness, hypnosis, sports psychology, and CBT, it applies that all to birth! All you athletes out there, this will be familiar. The brain training skills GentleBirth moms are learning are real, science based, and incredibly powerful in such a positive way. This is not a program where you have to be “crunchy” to get.
GenteBirth teaches women that birth is exciting! That it doesn’t need to be feared for endured. Their baby that they’ve carried for months is about to be in their arms and that’s a wonderful thing! We’ve always looked forward to the baby but often we think of the birth as something to get through. This program gives women the tools to change their thought patterns and change their brains in relation to birth. How incredible is that?!
GentleBirth gives women the information and skills they need to navigate a less than perfect system with protocols and rules that don’t necessarily benefit the laboring woman. It doesn’t set them up to be antagonistic but rather to be collaborative and encourages women to choose good providers (or change) and good places of birth (or switch) and work with those people to have a positive experience.
While GentleBirth certainly gives women the tools they need to have a positive, all natural birth, it also gives them the flexibility to change their plan when it’s necessary for their and their baby’s health and well being. There is no “failed” GentleBirth. Every birth can be a GentleBirth. The focus is on controlling the controllable and acknowledging that are things about birth that are unpredictable.
When I was looking for a childbirth education program, this last bit was incredibly important to me. No woman should feel shame if their birth plan goes sideways. It was important to me to find a program that gave families the tools they needed for a natural birth but also the decision making and communication skills they needed to feel good about their decisions. I found that in GentleBirth!
Yes, I’m excited. I’m sure you can tell ;). I’ll be announcing class dates as soon as I get locations finalized. If you are outside the Indianapolis area and interested in hosting a workshop, please contact me here! In the mean time, download the app for a 7 day free trail.
Adina Nelson, CD(DONA)
I am a birth & postpartum doula and chlidbirth educator practicing in North Idaho.
She was there every step of the way for me and my husband...I thank Adina for everything she helped us with. She truly is a special person and we will be forever grateful for her! ~Erin