Arizona VBAC Doula Support

Arizona VBAC Doula Support

Arizona VBAC doula Supporting birthing person in Phoenix labor and delivery

Can A Doula Help Me Have a VBAC? 

Finding yourself pregnant after a cesarean can come with a range of emotions- you may feel nervous about how this birth will go at the same time as you feel excited for the new baby you’re going to welcome. When you try to research having a VBAC, or vaginal birth after a cesarean, you may be even more worried when you see things like “once a cesarean, always a cesarean” and read about providers who aren’t supportive. It’s true that you may face some opposition in your desire for a vaginal birth, but it’s important to remember that this is your birth and your decision to make. As you prepare for this experience, an Arizona doula will offer guidance and support. 

Finding Your Team

Doulas are very tapped into the local birth community, and they’re a great place to start if you are looking to identify a VBAC-friendly provider. Some doctors and midwives are more comfortable with VBACs, and some birth centers or hospitals may have specific policies regarding the care of a VBAC birther. Rather than working within these rules, finding an environment that matches your values can set you up for success down the line. Working with a doula early on in your pregnancy can be a great way to find providers that support your wishes and will help you achieve the birth you desire. *AZ Doula tip: it is never too late to change your team. Whether that is adding a Doula or deciding on a different provider. This is YOUR experience, and you can choose who participates.*

The Big Day 

When the time comes for you to labor, the benefits of having a doula are nearly endless. By offering hands-on pain relief, supporting your partner, and reminding you of your goals, a doula will be encouraging during any type of birth you may have. But when you’re aiming for a VBAC, having a doula by your side can be even more critical. 

Cesareans can often result from interventions that prevent labor from progressing naturally, cause abnormal amounts of pain, or put you on a ‘time clock’ in a medical provider’s eyes. With a doula there to suggest alternatives or tools, you’re less likely to end up in a position where you are pushed toward an unnecessary surgical birth. In the event a repeat cesarean does become the best option for you and your baby, having a knowledgeable birth after cesarean doula available to filter the twists and turns of labor can help you feel more confident in your decision for a cesarean.

Many women have trauma around their c-sections, which can make this next birth a raw and vulnerable experience from the beginning. A doula will focus on working through these emotions with you and your partner and provide a feeling of additional security. 

The Impact of Doulas 

Research has shown that having a birth doula with you leads to a decreased risk of cesarean section and other interventions, including Pitocin, epidurals, forceps, and vacuums. 

A doula’s job is to provide you and your partner with the information and confidence necessary to advocate for the birth experience you want. For example, suppose your provider is pressing for a cesarean or other potentially unnecessary interventions that do not align with your goals. In that case, a doula will be there to remind you of everything you learned from her and your classes so that you can make the best decision for you in the moment. Whether you need gentle encouragement or tough love in the moment, doulas meet you where you are. 

At Expecting a Blessing, our goal is for you to feel empowered and confident in your birth. If you are hoping to have a VBAC, we will navigate the journey alongside you.

Coping with a Prodromal Labor Experience

Coping with a Prodromal Labor Experience

All About Prodromal Labor 

If you’ve ever seen a woman go into labor on television or in the movies, it goes something like this:

…her water breaks unexpectedly, ending in a huge gush of fluid, and she immediately begins having contractions that cause screaming. By the time she makes it to the hospital, the baby is minutes away from being born.

This may be how it goes for some people, but it’s very unlikely to be how your labor begins or ends. In fact, many people have a hard time knowing they even are in labor and it may be days before you’re sure the baby is coming.

When labor starts and stops for some time before active labor begins, it is known as prodromal labor. Experiencing this can be frustrating and confusing, especially if you’re a first-time mom or you haven’t had the opportunity to experience this type of labor with previous pregnancies. 

Recognizing Prodromal Labor 

Many doctors refer to this phenomenon as “false labor,” but this isn’t 100% accurate. Unlike Braxton Hicks, your body is actually going into labor, but not for sustained periods of time. For a variety of reasons, labor is stopping instead of progressing or intensifying. These contractions often come at the same time each day or for the same amount of time. They usually won’t meet thresholds like the “4 minutes apart, 1 minute long, for 1 hour” that is the go-to for helping you decide when it’s time to head to the hospital. (TIP: ‘411’ and other tools like it can be learned in a childbirth class)

Contractions that don’t have a pattern, don’t strengthen or become more frequent or can be stopped by certain actions usually indicate prodromal labor.

A number of things can cause prodromal labor, though it isn’t always explainable. A baby that isn’t positioned properly or something like an uneven pelvis may cause a physical block that stops labor from progressing, or a mental state of anxiety or fear can hinder progress. Prodromal labor doesn’t mean anything is wrong. In fact, it’s completely normal, though it can be frustrating and exhausting. 

Coping with Prodromal Labor 

Even though the contractions in prodromal labor are milder than active labor, they’re still painful and taxing on the body. Days on end of these can leave you tired and feeling too burnt out to manage once active labor begins. It’s important to take this time to rest as much as possible, rather than trying to force labor or stressing about when it will begin. 

That doesn’t mean you can’t encourage labor. Taking a daily walk, using a birthing ball, or even dancing are helpful ways to position baby properly and bring about more progress. But if you’re going to do this, do it in the morning, not at night when it’s time to sleep. If you need to slow contractions to get some rest, consider utilizing a warm bath to effectively help your mind and muscles to relax.

This is also a great time to practice other coping mechanisms that you’ve learned, like breathing or massage. It may help you understand what will bring you comfort in active labor and guide your partner toward these techniques. 

 Preparation for Prodromal Labor 

Knowing you, as a pregnant Arizona parent, value having a strategy behind the approach to your comfort in labor, I invite you to consider taking advantage of this evening ‘Comfort in Labor’ course to help you find methods for relaxation and pain-coping techniques that will match your unique childbirth style.

Unlike other classes, the hands-on tools shared here aren’t specific to any one method and can often be used WITH and WITHOUT PAIN MEDICATION during labor. Come away from this workshop feeling confident and secure in utilizing tools and techniques when and where they are useful for you, including:  Breathing techniques | Position changes to help progress labor | Positions for pushing | Relaxation and rest techniques | Birth/peanut ball use | Massage tips | When and how to utilize an epidural |  and more!

Simply find a time that is convenient for you and your partner and secure your registration for a ‘Comfort in Labor’ class and be well on your way as prepared participants in your upcoming AZ birth experience.