I recently had a conversation with a client who is hoping for a VBAC, and have been reflecting on our conversations as of late. She had gestational diabetes with her first baby, and a late third trimester ultrasound measured him as being “large” so she was recommended a C section. At one of her last appointments during this pregnancy, her OB hesitated to tell her that she was still a strong candidate for a VBAC, due to the baby not being head down yet and the size estimate of the baby was unknown. So when I asked her about the possibility of a VBAC, she said she was going to have to wait and see what her doctor told her to do.
I have a couple thoughts on this. One, the validity of third trimester ultrasounds regarding a baby’s size are highly variable. It is well-known within the birth community that an ultrasound for size at this point in the pregnancy isn’t a great determinant of the baby’s size at birth. There is a fear of having a large baby, and mothers are encouraged to have C sections to avoid complications, but often times these “large” babies are actually quite normal (in the 6-9lb range). The change in growth and weight in the last 6-8 weeks of the pregnancies varies, and there is no standard to know if a baby is a certain size at an ultrasound, what size they will be at birth.
Two, she was waiting for her doctor’s opinion. Now, I believe in the sensibility of listening to a medical opinion. However, the birth is HER experience, not her doctor’s. Doctors don’t get to tell you what you HAVE to do. They are giving their best recommendations, but it often comes with a fear basis, meaning if you don’t follow their recommendations you and your baby are going to be at serious risk. Medical bias is a real, documented thing. How often has a medical doctor given a recommendation based on biased opinion instead of a valid physiological reason?
Far too often I believe mothers are bullied into making decisions that they don’t feel comfortable with. I’ve been there. I wanted to trust the medical staff at the hospital, but they were giving instructions that didn’t sit right with me. But I felt helpless and too vulnerable to say anything different, so I didn’t.
Becoming a mother is vulnerable, but it should not be filled with fear. It is my goal that every mother in our office feels empowered going into her birth experience, no matter which way she chooses. Birth should be judgment free. You should be making the decisions that you feel most comfortable with, and not feel judged by your provider for it. I recently read a powerful book by a woman named January Harshe called Birth Without Fear. I HIGHLY recommend it, no matter what you have decided for your birth (hospital or home), feeding your baby (breastfed or formula), and how you recover postpartum.
There is far too much judgement and fear in the parenting world; let’s lift one another up and empower each other in the decisions we make! As your prenatal chiropractor, I am here to support you, empower you, and of course, keep your nervous system functioning as efficiently as possible during these times of transition in your life.
If a prenatal chiropractor is not on your team, give our office a call! We would love to be a part of your pregnancy, birth, and postpartum experience.
Peace Love and Wellness,