VBACs in Oklahoma: What you need to know

7 resources to help make the right choice for you.

You’ve probably heard the phrase, “once a cesarean, always a cesarean,” and for years this was true. From 2005 to 2015, the main malpractice insurance company in Oklahoma, PLICO (Physician’s Insurance Company of Oklahoma), refused to cover care-providers who allowed their patients to have a trial of labor after a previous cesarean. The PLICO group insures between 80-90% of OBs in the state, which means that Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC) was simply not available as an option for the vast majority of Oklahoma moms.

But just over a year ago, everything changed. PLICO put out a statement saying that they would start allowing their insured care-providers to attend VBACs, as long as they followed the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) guidelines. And just like that, a massive barrier to evidence-based care was removed.

Since PLICO’s decision, I’ve seen a decent rise in the number of OBs (and hospitals) who have decided to take on VBAC patients. There’s even one hospital in town that wasn’t doing VBACs a year ago that is now. It’s pretty exciting stuff for our birth community!

But although care-providers are starting to take on more VBAC patients, their practices vary quite a bit. Some care-providers require an induction at 38 weeks while others refuse to induce at all, requiring an automatic cesarean at 40 weeks instead. Some require an internal fetal monitors during labor, restricting mothers to the labor bed, and others are okay with intermittent external monitoring which allows for more freedom of movement. It’s all about how much control your care-provider needs to feel comfortable—some need more, some less.

Also a little disclaimer: not every woman who has had a cesarean is a candidate for a VBAC (talk to your care-provider about your options), nor does every woman who has had a previous cesarean want a VBAC. This is a unique and personal choice. And that’s exactly what’s so fantastic about it—you have a choice! It’s up to you, mama, to figure out what you want and who to hire to help you get there.

VBAC Resources

So today, I’d like to share 6 awesome VBAC resources with you so that you can be fully informed!

  1. VBACfacts.com: a mecca of evidence-based information on all things VBAC. They also have a free 3-day email mini-course.
  2. The Atlantic, Once a C-Section, Always a C-Section?: a fascinating overview of the history of cesareans and VBACs in the US. Also demystifies the controversiality of VBACs.
  3. International Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN): a non-profit education, support and advocacy organization that provides lots of information on repeat cesarean vs. VBAC.
  4. Childbirth Connection, Best Evidence: VBAC or Repeat C-Section: Research-based informational website that asks and answers questions about VBAC risks.
  5. 10 Tips for a Successful VBAC: a video by YouTube mom Avital Grin. She shares 10 things that helped her have her own successful VBAC. It’s very sweet.
  6. Birth Without Fear, VBAC: What ACOG Really Says: Goes through ACOG’s practice guidelines and breaks down what they mean for you.
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