How to prepare physically for a VBAC

Amy - posted on 05/25/2009 ( 6 moms have responded )




I had a c-section July 2008 (my son's 10 months now), and we're considering getting pregnant again. I've done more research than anyone ever needs to do about the chance of uterine rupture during VBAC, and I'm totally comfortable with the statistics. My last labor was all natural at a birthing center until about 45 minutes before the c-section because Noah's heart stopped for about a minute and a half. He was all wrapped up in the cord, and every contraction strangled him more and more, so they did the c-section. I am ALL FOR a natural labor this time, and there's a dr. close by that said he is known as a "non-interventionist" which is exactly what I'm looking for! The dr. that delivered Noah was very sympathetic and knew about my hopes for natural labor, so she double-sutured, which helps.

The help I need is how to prepare my body for it, and once I'm pregnant, what to do then. I mean, should I do more crunches? lol Is there a food or something that can help the scar heal? I know there's a lot to nutrition and its effects on muscle development, etc., but does anyone know anything specific to VBACs? I will take all the help I can get, and if anyone can find websites about exercises and stuff, I would really appreciate it!


Amy - posted on 04/30/2010




Thanks! I actually had the successful VBAC Feb. 21! He was born 1 day late, and I had natural labor, start to finish. He was posterior, which they say generally leads to longer, harder labors, causing more need for epidurals and has a lot higher risk of c-section, but I toughed it out and made it without anything...I was NOT having a repeat c-section! That was what actually helped me through it. Rather than being ok with another c-section, I was so dead-set against it that it strengthened my resolve to fight through the pain! I know that epidurals double the risk of c-section, so I just wouldn't let myself even consider getting one because I didn't want another c-section!

I definitely think the red raspberry leaf tea helped, for sure. At 37 weeks I got a terrible sinus infection, so I was drinking 3-4 bags of tea a day for 3 weeks just to help with my coughing, sore throat, and aching sinuses! I did the evening primrose oil, too, and although it was gross, it probably helped! I woke up at 5:30AM with contractions, and he was born 8 hours later!

There is just no comparison between c-section recovery and natural!!

Sarah - posted on 03/31/2010




Amy the only "exercise" that will give your uterus a workout is luckily enough orgasm. Crunches, swimming, running etc have no effect at all on your uterus wall. I had a sucessful VBAC 5 months ago and it was amazing but the advice I will give you is try to make peace with possibly having another c-section it will make the experience so much more sweet if you aren't just focused on having a vaginal birth and also do everything in your power to try to have a fast labour. So exercise all you can so that you are strong, use raspberry leaf tea (toning your uterus wall), evening primrose oil can be used internally from the time it is safe to have your baby (2 internally and 2 orally) (making sure you ave a "happy" cervix that dilates quickly) and clary sage oil (helps make your contractions stronger and more effective - used in labor only). You can expect a typical second labour up until the point you progressed to last time so if it was very far you are in with an excellent chance of being sucessful. Goodluck I wish you all the best.


View replies by

Claire - posted on 03/08/2013




Hi there :) I'm hoping for a VBAC and was wondering if you drank the rasberry tea throughout your entire pregnancy? Thanks muchly :)

Erin - posted on 02/28/2010




I can't think of any exercises or foods that would help the uterine scar specifically. My only advice is to allow the scar to heal as completely as possible by waiting at least 1 full year or longer from the surgery until conceiving again. Then just do all the things they tell you to do to ensure a healthy pregnancy - eat right and moderate regular exercise. Doing this will help you have a healthy sized baby - not too big, not too small - and enable your body to tolerate labor better. And will increase your chances for a successful vaginal birth.

I just recently succeeded with the birth of my third child via VBAC (1st baby born vaginally with a vaccuum, 2nd by C/S for suspected CPD). All I did was tried to eat healthy and get regular exercise. I also drank lots of red rasberry leaf tea. It is a uterine tonic that helps tone and strengthen the utuerus. It does not cause contractions but it does make them more effective.

I should caution you that some doctros get skittish about allowing plans for a VBAC to continue if you go passed your due date, have gestational diabetes, or if it looks like the baby is above average in size. However there is no evidence to show that these factors increase your risk of rupture. So stand your ground. I did and I am so glad for it. My provider knew I reluctant to receive any intervention unless medically indicated. I went three days over my due date and had agreed to start receiving non-stress tests biweekly and was aschedule for a bio-physical profile to make sure the baby was safe enough to allow the pregnancy to continue. But I went into labor on my own before I received any of those tests. I delivered my daughter after only 8 hours of labor from first contraction to the last, no artificial drugs to augment my labor, and only one dose of IV pain meds - which I wouldn't have taken had I known it would have been that quick. It was the best decision I ever made.

Good luck to you!

[deleted account]

I am not yet pregnant or even TTC, but am planning to have a VBAC with my next birth. I am currently reading everything I can get my hands on about it (cos I want to have it planned out and be fully informed by the time I fall pregnant), and have made a few decisions as to what I plan to do.

1. See my naturopath for nutritional advice and supplements, as I did last time. But she mentioned that there are herbs she could have given me (she does a birthing mix), but there was no reason to give it to me with my last pregnancy as I had a textbook perfect, healthy, normal pregnancy.

2. Accupuncture from about 20 weeks (I had it last time to induce labour, but did it only once and too late, so it wasn't enough and it failed - by the way, I was induced 9 days late and had a C-section for failure to progress).

3. Excercise as much as I can. I am starting this now pre-TTC. Would like to go swimming regularly, but don't have the time with a demanding 9 month old, so it'll be mostly lots of walking and yoga. (things I can do at home or take baby along)

Regarding healing of the scar, zinc helps with healing. See for foods high in zinc. I also take a supplement.

My community health nurse has lent me an excellent book called "Silent Knife Cesarean Prevention & Vaginal Birth after Cesarean" by Nancy Wainer Cohen & Lois J. Estner. It's published in the 80's but I find a lot of the information in it is still very relevant (and I'm only half way through it). Highly recommended reading.

Kimberly - posted on 11/12/2009




I had my son in April 2008 (via unplanned c-section) and am now due with baby # 2 (and hopefully vbac #1) in mid-December 2009. I haven't done anything special to prepare physically, but I did spend the spring, summer and early fall walking quite a bit and paying special attention to my posture and holding in my stomach. (I can be lazy and let it hang out...but even simple exercising while holding in your belly strengthens those muscles.) I do know that vitamin E is supposed to be an EXCELLENT healer for the body, so you may want to consider eating foods that are rich in vitamin E.

Other than that, (and I'm no expert...) ;) I would say just do what you'd normally do when preggo. Eat right, rest, get light exercise (or whatever you're accustomed to), drink lots of fluids... It is possible that a nice pre-natal yoga workout would be nice for you. I did post-natal yoga after my son was born, but haven't done any during my pregnancy. (I'm lazy.) :) Good luck on baby #2!

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms