VBAC Banned by Some Hospitals

Michele Zipp

hospital signVaginal birth after c-section (VBAC) is getting more and more common. My doula had one (part of her inspiration to become a doula) and my sister hopes to give birth vaginally after she had to have an emergency cesarean with her first child. But I just read a story about a mom who says her hospital has banned VBACs.

Joy Szabo lives in Page, Arizona, and her local hospital -- Page Hospital -- will not perform VBACs because of the higher risk of complications.

Perhaps they don't have the capabilities to deal with complications? But then again, they are a hospital...shouldn't they be the most capable? OK, don't answer that. Yes, they should be, but some aren't. And I didn't know this, but half of all hospitals will not perform VBAC. Wow.

Here is the story of the Szabos' quest for a VBAC....

They had their first child, Michael, in 2004 at Page Hospital. There were complications and a c-section was performed. "I'm grateful for that c-section," Joy told CNN. "It saved Michael's life."

Two years later, Joy had a successful VBAC at Page. But apparently their policy has since changed.

VBACs do carry risk of uterine rupture, but according to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists it is less than one percent.

"I know there's a risk with a VBAC, but we think the risks of surgery are worse," Joy said. "And I don't want to have to recover from surgery when I'll have four children at home, at least not voluntarily."

The Szabos didn't accept the doctors at Page Hospital's rule against VBACs -- they went straight to the CEO who then told them that she would get a "court order if necessary to ensure Joy delivered via c-section."

"I was a bit flabbergasted, because that seemed rather extreme," Joy said. "I'd already had a VBAC at Page and it went fine. And if something happened, I know they can do an emergency c-section, because they did one for Michael."

So now Joy will be traveling 350 miles to Phoenix to a hospital that will allow her to give birth vaginally. Sadly this means Joy's husband cannot attend the birth since he cannot be that far from home, having to care for the family business and the couple's three other children. She will, however, have her doula with her.

What do you think of this story? Did you know some hospitals will not perform VBACs?


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