If I Was a Betting Woman...

Twelve days late, for the third time.  Same weight gain for momma; for the third time.  Birth weight identical to one sibling and 2 ounces less than the other.  If I was a betting woman, I would start placing bets on my pregnancies.  That is if there were going to be a fourth one.  I am (almost) positive this is the last baby for us.  I think. 

Little Miss has arrived.

2nd VBAC

VBAC Series: April is Cesarean Awareness Month

April is Cesarean Awareness Month.  This seems to be designated by the International Cesarean Awareness Network, but I can't really find anything about its origin. 

Part of awareness is knowing your hospital's cesarean section and VBAC rates.  Leap Frog Group collects information from hospitals about their first time cesarean section rate.  This is under the classification of cesarean section, which is not immediately obvious that it is referring to only first time mother's whose baby is in the head down position.   

Consumer Reports recently reported on the variation in hospital’s first time cesarean section rate based on the Leap Frog Group data.  Neighboring hospitals may have very different cesarean section rates.  While some hospitals may claim they have a higher risk population driving their cesarean section rate, this statistic is based on low risk mother's only, leaving no room for that argument. 

While many larger New York City hospitals declined to submit their data to Leap Frog Group, New York State collects similar information.  However, in the NYS data there does not seem to be a difference between high or low risk mothers.  Additionally, primary cesarean section rate may also include mom's who had a previous vaginal delivery, but had a cesarean section in a following pregnancy.  Even without the separation of low risk to high risk pregnancies, the data is somewhat telling, especially between large academic medical centers where patient population should be similar.  NYS data also contains information on their VBAC rate, defined as the number of women delivering vaginally with a previous cesarean section, the denominator is all women delivering with a previous cesarean section. 

Other states may have cesarean section data available.  In a quick search New Jersey and Massachusetts seemed to have reports on the information, rather than an interactive website.  Have information for your state?  Feel free to post a link to it in the comments below. 

VBAC Series: Finding Support

Any woman planning a VBAC knows the support for her decision is of utmost importance.  Ideally this support would be found in her family and care provider.  However, this might not be the case for each woman planning a VBAC or she would simply like to connect with someone making the same decision.

There is little to no research about the supportive environment affecting the rate of VBAC, but for those who have been through the experience, support is one of the key factors of successful VBAC. 

In the day and age of social media, many women are turning to online communities to find the support they desire while planning a VBAC.  In a recent article from the Journal of Perinatal Education, a childbirth educator describes the online support she saw for a woman who attempted a VBAC and ultimately ended up with a tertiary cesarean section.  Strangers followed this woman’s story, and hundreds commented on her posts during labor. 

Another journal article analyzed a VBAC forum and pregnancy forum on babycenter.com.  The VBAC forum appeared more personal and supportive than the pregnancy forum based on their scoring criteria.  

You may want to consider the following when joining an online group:

1.     Size.  Are you looking for a more intimate group where members know each other well or a larger group that might have more activity.

2.     Moderation level.  Some groups may have a monitor that deletes inappropriate comments or off topic threads. 

3.     Privacy.  Is it a closed group or open to the public?  How are members approved?

4.     Types of questions asked.  This will probably be mixed in all groups, but overall are members looking for support, medical advice, or general information. 

5.     Usefulness in your own life.  Does the group bring you the support you are looking for, positiveness to your situation, or just a fun distraction?

There are no right or wrong answers to the considerations above.  It is all based on personal preference and determination of value in your own life.  If you are looking for extra support when pursuing a VBAC or want to hear from someone else going through the same situation, an online group may be a viable option.