According to the WA Mother’s and Babies Report 2010, caesarean rates start from about 18% in public hospitals, generally sitting somewhere between 20-30%. In private hospitals the caesarean section rates are between 33% and 55%. There are a number of reasons for this, however for women who have already had a caesarean, you need to understand what your choices are. The Births After Caesarean sheet is a good starting point, as is the Birthrites website. To support women who have had or are anticipating having a caesarean birth, TheBumpWA has caesarean workshops for women wishing to inform and prepare themselves well for a caesarean birth or a vaginal birth after caesarean. Have a look at our Workshops page for more information.
VBAC – Vaginal births after caesarean
The Next Birth After Caesarean or NBAC clinic at King Edward Memorial Hospital provides an opportunity for women who have had a previous caesarean birth to have a vaginal birth. It is a publicly funded service and does not cost. It is a midwifery-led clinic providing information about birth choices – whether you choose to have a vaginal birth or another caesarean birth. Women with high risk pregnancies remain linked in with obstetric care but can access the birth preparation services.
Other than the NBAC clinic you can always ask your hospital or you obstetrician if they can support your choice. It will be very important for you to engage extra support such as a private midwife, a doula or a student midwife.
There are a number of options available to you to turn your caesarean surgery into birth. For example, you can create an Elective Caesarean Section Birth Plan (this is form MR 290.01 at King Edward Hospital referred to in this guideline) and stipulate that you would like to have the curtain lowered for delivery, and immediate skin to skin contact if there are no medical emergencies. Mother and baby may be able to stay together in recovery as per this guideline. You can also ask for other options such as special music to be playing at the time of birth.