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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Episode 44 (Epilogue): VBAC

Trailer, Trial of Labor: A Film About Birth
Tonight's jam-packed show was all about Vaginal Birth After Cesarean, or VBAC; a practice that has become more and more difficult to come by in the U.S. However, with recent ACOG policy revisions, we are beginning to see a paradigm shift. Joining us tonight to talk about the risks, the myths, and the realities of Vaginal Birth After Cesarean were Jennifer Kamel, author of; Dr. John Sullivan Jr. of Sarasota Memorial Health Care System; Erin Ernst of ICAN; and Tamara Taitt of the VBAC Summit, taking place in Miami August 17-19. First we spoke to Jennifer Kamel of the popular website

Jennifer urged consumers to talk to their care providers first about their plans to pursue a VBAC. Posted on her website are these questions to ask a care provider when searching for a supporting VBAC practitioner.

    Kamel says: "You might have to interview several providers until you find one who is truly supportive of VBAC. If you do find such a provider, refer all your friends, VBAC or not, to this provider so that they can reap the benefit of someone who supports non-interventive birth! I really think that true change won’t occur in the medical community in terms of supporting natural non-interventive birth and VBAC until the OBs and hospitals see their revenue decrease. For this reason, we all need to support OBs, midwives, and hospitals that support VBAC." Kamel also suggested listeners watch Dr. David Birnbach's presentation from the 2010 NIH's Consensus on VBAC. We mentioned that there are several hospitals that still have a ban against VBAC; these can be found on the ICAN website.

    We then welcomed Dr. John Sullivan Jr., head of the OB Section at Sarasota Memorial Hospital. He and his partner Dr. Wayne Cohen have been welcoming VBAC clients into their practice for several years. He reminded listeners that Sarasota Memorial is the only facility south of St. Petersburg that allows VBAC, and shared the current SMH VBAC policy. We also talked with Dr. Sullivan about the new Hospitalist program at SMH and potential improvements the program will bring.

    Then we introduced Erin Ernst, mother of two and local leader of the International Cesarean Awareness Network. Erin shared the birth stories of her daughters Kalina and Jasper, and shared with our listeners the mission of ICAN and how you can get involved. The group meets the second Wednesday of each month (the next meeting is Wednesday, August 8, 2012) at 6:30pm Firestation #1, Downtown Sarasota, 1445 4th St, Sarasota, FL 34239.

    Finally, we heard from Tamara Taitt, co-planner of the 3rd Annual VBAC Summit, August 17-19 in Miami, Florida. She talked about speakers around the country coming to Miami, such as Jen Kamel and Gena Kirby, who will present at the summit. There are pre-conference workshops available at The Gathering Place throughout the week prior to the Summit, and a broad menu of offerings for attendees this year.

    Our advice to those seeking a trial of labor after a cesarean section: Hire a doula. Know your rights. Do your research. And trust your body.

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