Click Your Way to the Best Info: finding quality VBAC and Cesarean info online

By Sharon Muza, BS, CD(DONA) BDT(DONA), LCCE, FACCE

While April is recognized as Cesarean Awareness Month in both the United States and many other countries, quality consumer information about how to prevent cesareans (both primary {first} cesareans and subsequent ones) along with information about having a vaginal birth after a cesarean (VBAC) is valuable to families all year long.

Many families scour the internet looking for practical information and best practices, as well as inspirational stories that help them to feel less isolated and alone when they are recovering from a cesarean or planning another birth.

Here are my favorite websites to share with families who have experienced a cesarean or are planning a VBAC. I like these websites because they are easy to read and contain many articles relevant to cesarean and VBAC families. The first seven are great resources for evidenced based information and best practices on the topics of cesareans and VBACs. The last three are simply great inspirational websites where you can find stories of strong people birthing their babies. Everyone needs to celebrate the strength and courage that is demonstrated by birthing families.

best vbac cesarean info online

Evidence Based Birth

EvidenceBasedBirth.com, while only a couple of years old, has quickly proven to be a valuable resource time and time again. Rebecca L. Dekker, PhD, RN, APRN is the author and she has the wonderful ability to evaluate reams and reams of research and boil it down to important information that consumers can use. Many of her articles are available as a PDF to print and bring with you to a doctor or midwife appointment.  Some of my favorite posts that I think are particularly useful to the VBAC family include big babies, rupture of membranes, and due dates.

VBACFacts.com

Jen Kamel is well known nationally for both her website and her VBACFacts.com class. Her slogan – “Don’t Freak. Know the Facts.” She maintains a comprehensive list of posts that explain the research on many of the obstacles that face VBAC families – information on different types of incision repair, VBAC after more than one cesarean, induction for VBAC parents and my favorite among many – “Want a VBAC? Ask Your Care Provider These Questions.

Well Rounded Mama

Well Rounded Mama, at first glance, seems like a website for plus or larger sized people, but honestly it is a fantastic website for any person who is having a baby, particularly after a cesarean. Pam Vireday does extensive research and her blog posts often cover issues that face many of us as we try and navigate our care after a cesarean. Her motto is “Because mothers and children come in all shapes and sizes. And because people of all sizes deserve compassionate, gentle, helpful care.”  “The Fat Vagina Theory – Soft Tissue Dystocia” is one of my favorite posts, but I look forward to every post that Pam publishes.

About.com Pregnancy & Childbirth

This expansive website is written by Robin Elise Weiss, PhD, author of many pregnancy and childbirth books and current president of Lamaze International. Robin’s blog posts are short and easy to read and full of relevant links where you can get more follow up information. They are always accurate and based on current evidence and chock full of resources and suggestions. I like to search on the topics of VBAC or cesarean to find posts of interest, but really, I enjoy reading everything Robin writes.

Spinning Babies

Gail Tully is the author and creator of SpinningBabies.com and I just love her site. As a midwife, Gail has a unique perspective and I appreciate the breadth of information that packs her site. Since some cesareans are a result of a malpositioned baby, the information found here can help families to progress a labor that may be not moving along due to baby’s position. Additionally, for those facing a cesarean for a breech baby, Gail’s techniques may help to get that baby to turn head down. Lots of pictures and a new look make this site easy to use and refer to, even in labor when ideas and suggestions are especially needed. If you had a cesarean for a malpositioned baby, you will for sure want to be familiar with the information on Spinning Babies as you get ready to birth again.

Midwife Thinking

This blog comes from “down under” and is filled with great information on many topics that apply to cesarean and VBAC families. Midwife Rachel Reed takes on some of the myths that get perpetuated on birth and breaks them down in posts that are well researched and full of current information. Be sure to check out “Amniotic Fluid Volume: Too Much, Too Little or Who Knows?” and “VBAC: Making a Mountain Out of a Molehill” and “In Celebration of the OP Baby,” as well as many others that she has written. I encourage you to check out Rachel’s website and read more of her work.

Giving Birth With Confidence – A Woman’s Guide to VBAC

This consumer friendly website for all pregnant families has a very well written guide for VBAC’ing women, based on the 2010 VBAC Consensus Statement held by the National Institutes of Health. Over 10 different well-written resources make up this comprehensive guide to help people understand the research, make informed decisions and navigate the obstacles that they may face when they are planning to VBAC.

Black Women VBAC

This blog is full of stories of people of color who have had successful VBACs and is a great place for all people who are interested in inspirational birth stories to check out. People of color experience cesareans at a rate that is disproportionate to white people and the impact is significant. Read about the courage and strength that these families demonstrated and get inspired yourself.

About.com VBAC Birth Stories

A comprehensive collection of a wide variety of VBAC stories submitted by readers of About.com.

Plus Size Pregnancy Birth Stories

Collated by the same person who writes “Well Rounded Mama” (see above), this is an extensive collection of VBAC, VBAMC and Cesarean stories that will be sure to provide tons of inspiration and encouragement to families who have experienced a cesarean or are planning to birth after a cesarean. While the site is a wee bit dated, it is an extremely comprehensive collection.

These are some of my favorite websites for consumers to learn more about cesareans, VBACs, the VBAC climate, and what the current research says about both cesarean and VBAC birth. Families today need to be informed and prepared to navigate the choices and options available to them as they prepare to welcome a baby, in hopes of avoiding an unneeded cesarean and birthing after a previous cesarean.

What are your favorite websites, blogs and research sources for finding information on the topics of cesareans and VBACs? Share them with our readers in the comments section as we celebrate Cesarean Awareness Month.

 

About Sharon Muza

Sharon Muza headshotSharon Muza, BS, CD(DONA) BDT(DONA), LCCE, FACCE has been an active childbirth professional since 2004, teaching Lamaze classes, including “VBAC YOUR Way” and providing doula services to many hundreds of couples through her private practice in Seattle, Washington. She is an instructor at the Simkin Center, Bastyr University where she is a birth doula trainer. Sharon is also a trainer with Passion for Birth, a Lamaze-Accredited Childbirth Educator Program. Sharon is a former co-leader of the International Cesarean Awareness Network’s (ICAN) Seattle Chapter, and a former board member of PALS Doulas and Past President of REACHE.  In September 2011, Sharon was admitted as a Fellow to the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators. Sharon Muza has been the community manager, writer and editor for Science & Sensibility, Lamaze International’s blog for birth professionals, since 2012. Sharon enjoys active online engagement and facilitating discussion around best practice, current research and its practical application to community standards and actions by health care providers, and how that affects families in the childbearing year. Sharon has been a dynamic speaker at international conferences on topics of interest to birth professionals and enjoys collaborating with others to share ideas and information that benefit birth professionals and families. Sharon lives with her family in Seattle, WA. To learn more about Sharon, you are invited to visit her website, SharonMuza.com.

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