What does it look like to become a doula? What are some of the birth world’s most pressing issues? In our new series, Ask A DTI Doula, DTI educators and trained doulas will answer some of our community’s questions.
For the fifth piece in the series, we are proud to share an interview with DTI Doula Educator Taylor Davis on how to approach a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC)—and the different things expecting parents should look for in VBAC-supportive providers.
Who: Taylor Davis (she/her)
I have a busy and thriving practice! I work primarily as a birth doula and attend two to three births a month, with one or two-month-long breaks during the year. I work as a solo doula, but collaborate actively with other local doulas to back one another up. I work with all types of families, and especially love working with people who are birthing again after a challenging first birth experience.
VBAC stands for Vaginal Birth After Cesarean. If you have had one or more cesarean sections (C-sections) and are pregnant again, you have a few options—do you want another C-section (repeat C-section) or a vaginal birth after cesarean section (VBAC)?
According to the American Pregnancy Association, the national cesarean birth rate has been at its highest, with more than a quarter of all deliveries being C-sections. And statistically, 60-80%–roughly 3 to 4 out of 5–people who have previously undergone cesarean birth can successfully give birth vaginally.
The No. 1 thing I want families pursuing VBAC to know, is that they should take the time to carefully choose a VBAC supportive provider. While I realize this might not exist in every region, it’s absolutely worth it to explore all of the available options and choose a provider who is going to be fully supportive of VBAC. This can feel overwhelming, but if taken one step at a time, it’s very manageable. I’ve often seen it be incredibly empowering as well for families to step into their power and interview providers and hire the one who is the best fit.
Typically, searching for a provider begins with doing some research in your community to see if there are providers who others have had good VBAC experiences with. You can then call each of those offices and schedule a meet and greet or an interview. You DO NOT have to schedule a medical appointment before interviewing providers. Here are some questions to ask when you interview providers:
Notice that these are mostly open-ended questions. Asking a VBAC provider open-ended questions, instead of questions that can be answered with a simple “yes” or “no,” allows you to get more information about their approach. Better yet, it requires them to share their philosophy in more depth and detail.
After you walk out of this interview, it’s time to evaluate the answers you received. A list of questions doesn’t help very much if you don’t understand the implications of the answers. Here are some red flags to look for when listening to a provider’s responses:
Finally, it’s critical to pay attention to how that provider and their responses make you feel when you are interviewing them.
I created a guide to help families find supportive VBAC providers. It will walk you through the exact process, step by step. You can grab it here. There’s a lot of preparation, both logistical and emotional, that goes into planning for a VBAC. I’ve recorded a few episodes on my podcast, “Your Birth, Your Worth” all about VBACs and know that VBAC folks will find them really helpful. This episode is all about how to rock your VBAC. In this episode, I interviewed Jen Kamel, VBAC expert and creator of VBAC Facts. And in this one, I walk listeners through the a 5-step process of confronting their fears as they plan for a VBAC.
You can reach out to DTI at email@example.com with any questions and you can also browse our training calendar to learn more! Curious about DTI’s programs? Click here to learn more about becoming a doula through the different programs we offer.