Dads-to-be can be absolutely terrified of their partner’s wish to have a VBAC or vaginal birth after a Caesarean delivery. There are good reasons for that fear. Certainly if there was a defined health issue for either the mother or baby, men can absolutely be bewildered and angry by any thought that the woman would risk them self or baby at the next birth. After all there’s no way to know what the birth will be like and the last birth required a Caesarean to safe-guard the health or well being of the birthing woman or baby. Another reason from anxiety and fear of a vaginal birth after a previous c-section is simple. If the man saw his partner behaving overwhelmed, out of control, exhausted, stressed and freaked looking that led to increased medical care including a cesarian delivery. No man wants to see his partner suffer in birth.
How can fathers-to-be cope with their fear of VBAC? The simple answer is become skilled. No kidding. Humans thrive on feeling skilled. As a man you know this. You feel at your best when you have skills to do whatever task is in front of you. Becoming skilled to participate in the birth of your baby makes all the difference between feeling afraid and confident.
Here’s the thing. Birthing Better Childbirth Preparation Online Course has been specific developed for you because these skills were developed by hundreds of men like yourself. Many of these dads were faced with a pregnant partner who desperately wants to have a vaginal birth after a previous c-section whether the Caesarean was necessary or perceived of as ‘unnecessary’ and imposed. Women absolutely can be persistently focused on achieving a vaginal birth after a cesarean.
Guys, let’s make this direct and practical. For a woman to get to the vaginal part of birth she has to get through the labor part. As you might know it’s the labor part that’s such hard work, full of intense birth contraction pains with women looking out of control.
The chances are that neither of you had a good set of skills for your last birth and without skills for this coming VBAC can be another labor blow-out. You don’t want your birthing partner to suffer. It’s scary to watch a birthing woman react negatively to the natural occurring pain of labor contractions. Women look horrible when they aren’t coping. They moan, groan, look sweaty, scared.
Birth skills change all of this. When a birthing woman isn’t coping it’s directly related to a lack of skills. If you can’t help her stay on top of and in control of the natural occurring pain of labor contractions then you lacked skills as well. All this can change.
Being skilled will give you confidence and the ability to really help her get through the labor part and to the vaginal part of birth.
When labor is progressive, the cervix is effectively dilating then the contractions get closer together, more intense and stronger. This means the birthing woman experiences more pain. The question is: Is the natural occurring pain associated with labor contractions a cause of medical concern? Is there a medical problem? If you have that concern then ask your obstetrician or midwife. If they tell you that the pain your birthing partner is experiencing is normal and natural that doesn’t make it less stressful to see her freaking out but skills can help her stay in control.
Birth-coaching skills are not rocket science or hard to learn or take heaps of time. Start around 24 weeks and work through the birth-coaching skills that fill in your gaps. Your pregnant partner needs to learn the birth skills to fill in her gaps. Then share with one another.
Preparing for VBAC
Birthing Better dads helped develop the skills to prepare their pregnant partner’s body to give birth. They developed skills such as: Hip Lift (create space side-to-side), Sacral Maneouvre (create space front-to-back), Kate’s Cat (creating a mobile sacrum), Pelvic Clock (softening around the cervix), Internal Work (preparing the birth canal) or Sit Bone Spread (creating space at the bottom of the sacrum). These are some of the practical pregnancy/birth preparation skills.
Your baby is a big object and has to come down, through and out your birthing partner’s pregnant/birthing body. Using birth preparation skills to create space, open up, make mobile and soft the pelvic area is a game changer. You help your baby navigate through your partner’s birthing body.
Then learn birth and birth-coaching skills so together you’ll work through contraction pains using skills such as 5 phases of contractions, teamwork, directed breathing, deep touch relaxation, best position for your baby, staying in the now and how to use the body skills you’ve practiced to prepare the pregnant body.
Use birth and birth-coaching skills
A VBAC is a woman’s effort to labor effectively and delivery your baby through her vagina. That’s her goal for whatever reason.
By starting at 24 weeks to prepare her pregnant body, learning birth and birth-coaching skills that you use throughout the birthing process then you help her at every moment to stay on top of and in control of all the internal sensations of contractions as well as the external medical assessments, monitoring and procedures that she has to tolerate.
BTW … all those medical assessments, monitoring and procedures have been lumped into one word by the natural birth movement … interventions. Your partner wants to avoid those ‘interventions’ but if you and she can just chill a bit and see them as medical assessments, monitoring and procedures then she doesn’t have to feel that if any of those occur she has failed to have a natural birth or that she’s faced with a ‘cascade of interventions’. Your job is to keep her on track no matter what is happening to or around her. Unless you’re going to have a VBAC at home alone, she will have medical assessments, monitoring and perhaps some procedures. Skills help her cope and birth-coaching skills help you help her keep using her birth skills.
Should you be terrified of a vaginal birth after a Caesarean? Look, your partner or baby are less likely to die or be injured during birth then at any other time in their lives but birth feels so vulnerable. Learn what signs or symptoms may indicate a need for another Casearean. And discuss with your partner when she is willing to have another c-section.
Birthing Better dads are very clear. Birth and birth-coaching skills are for use to birth our baby no matter where the birth happens, with whom or what is happening at the birth. This means you have to commit to using birth and birth-coaching skills to birth your baby no matter what. You got pregnant to have a baby not a type of birth. Don’t let your partner tell you that having a surgical birth is not giving birth. That’s nonsense even if not desired.
Use your birth skills on way to hospital (your labor), while being prepped (your transition) and during the surgery (the birth) and afterwards if there is any post birth pain.
Step up, become skilled. You’ll wow your obstetrician, feel good about yourself, be praised by your partner and finally get past that horrible fear of labor and vaginal birth.