There is (rightly) a lot of buzz these days around the insidious, incremental erosion of a woman’s right to choose whether she will give birth to a child she has conceived, but virtually nobody is talking about the drastic erosion of a woman’s right to choose how she will give birth to her term baby. Who is talking about the shocking erosion of a woman’s right to choose a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean)?
I’m inspired to post this by today’s Facebook thread about a woman whose doctor has dropped her from care at 41 weeks because of her desire to have a VBAC. And in portraying the conflicted pressures involved in Leah Marshall’s experience of pursuing a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC), author Koa Beck says Marshall sees “her birthing choice as a political one in a health system that, according to her, ‘still treats women as second-class citizens.'”
For one thing, Marshall discovered that she evidently wasn’t entitled to fully-disclosed informed consent. Sure, the common VBAC warning thrums like a drumbeat, incessant and daunting, conjuring an image horrific enough to scare off even the sturdiest among us : risk of uterine rupture. What Marshall was shocked to discover as she did her research was what nobody seems to be talking about, certainly not many doctors: the serious medical risks inherent in having two or more C-sections! (Her delivery nurse mother-in-law told her that “many doctors often don’t feel the need to share this information with their patients given how much smaller modern families are.” Say, what???!!!)