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    Questions? Ask Henci!

    Find out what other moms-to-be are asking. Join in the discussion with Henci Goer, whose expertise is determining what the research tells us best promotes safe, healthy birth. If you would like to contact Henci outside of the Ask Henci forum, send an email to

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    Archived User

    Hi Henci,
    I am 11 weeks pregnant and this is my 2nd baby. 1st baby was delivered through emergency c-section, major fetal stress - cord was wrapped three ways, bp dropped for both of us, long induced labor at 41 weeks because of back labor pain, horrible. Anyway, my delivering OB at the time said that I had the narrowest pelvic inlet she'd ever seen in 20 years of delivering babies, and what I guess my question is, does that make me unable to deliver vaginally or no? I was freaking out so badly on the medicine and never did receive a particularly clear answer even at the follow up appointments.  What kinds of questions / tests do I need to do with my current OB, my next appointment is around June 9th, to see if we can not do a c-section this time, I never want to do that again if possible. Any info would be so appreciated.  Thank you so much for your time :)  Barbra

    Henci Goer

    If I had a nickel for every woman who was told she would never be able to birth a baby vaginally who went on to VBAC--many women to babies bigger than the first one--I wouldn't have to worry about retirement. Aside from some sort of pelvic deformity, the ability of any particular woman to birth any particular baby is not predictable ahead of time because 1) the ligaments connecting the joints of  the pelvis soften under the hormones of pregnancy so that they can flex open, 2) the joints of the baby's skull and the openings allow the skull to mold to the shape of the pelvis and pass through, and 3) labor management practices have a powerful effect on the odds of vaginal birth. For example, pushing while lying on the back prevents the pelvis from flexing open and inducing labor in a first-time mother doubles the odds of cesarean. Lamaze has some great general information on VBAC here. I'm sure you will find it helpful. 

    You have another problem, though. Few obstetricians will agree to a VBAC under any circumstances, and a fair number who agree early in the pregnancy don't really mean it. As the pregnancy advances, they become more and more negative on the idea and set up more and more hoops for the woman to jump through to be "allowed" to labor. I call these "Cinderella VBACs," i.e. "You can go to the ball if you don't gain too much weight and if you go into labor by your due date and if . . ." If you don't want a repeat surgery, your task will be to find a care provider who encourages VBAC and believes that the woman will birth vaginally until proven otherwise. This is not likely to be your current ob, seeing as she has already told you she doesn't think you can birth a baby vaginally. Your best bet in finding someone is to see if there is a local International Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN) chapter and ask them. Failing that, you might see if there is a birth resources center in your community or talk to some of the local doulas

    ~ Henci


    Archived User

    Dear Henci,

    Thank you so much for your advice as it eased a lot of tension in my mind, I will be thoroughly talking with my new doc at my appointment tomorrow regarding this situation and what she found with my previous birthing records.  I am so thankful that there are new procedures and new advances every day in medicine to help make this natural part of life a little easier each time.  I will also definitely check out the resources you gave.  I very much appreciate your help :)


    Henci Goer

    Glad to be of help. I'd love to know how things went with the new doc.

    ~ Henci

    All Times America/New_York

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