Looking for something? Start here.
Custom Search




« CBS News: Location to blame for unnecessary surgery? | Scripps Health Puts Its Chapstick Where Its Mouth Is »

An 80's VBAC Keepsake

Bookmark and Share


By Jill Arnold


Joyanna posted this picture along with the following comment on our Facebook page today:

I am so proud of my mother for having an HBA2C in 1985 when VBAC was a radical, new, and completely unaccepted concept. This article she saved from a November 1987 newspaper was fascinating to read. We were already well on our way increasing unnecessarians, but there was hope that this would change as women became more aware of the problem. And now, 24 years later, we are still hoping…

We’ve written about the 1987 media campaign regarding lowering the cesarean rate by Public Citizen before, so it was interesting to see the actual print version of this article.

According to Joyanna, her mother, Sue Carpenter Dixson, tucked the article away in a folder with items she had saved pertaining to her homebirth, including letters suggesting possible midwives, her birth plan, some of the midwife’s charts and even the piece of paper that she jotted down her contraction times on. She told Joyanna that VBACs were unheard of, and when her friend told her about it, they both planned HBACs (home birth after cesarean).

She told Joyanna that they had to keep quiet about it. Her first birth was a long, difficult labor ending in a c-section, her second a planned c-section— because “once a cesarean, always a cesarean”— and when she discovered the possibility of having a VBAC, she gave birth to Joyanna’s little sister at home. Sue says that her home birth was an amazing, empowering, life-changing experience and Joyanna followed in her footsteps and gave birth at home as well.


These graphs provide persepctive on cesarean and VBAC rates in the U.S. in the 1980’s



 Image credit: Childbirth Connection





PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments (6)

I was born by cesarean in 1985 (transverse breech, I believe), then my brother was born via VBAC in 1988. Though I was aware of this growing up, I never realized how "radical" the VBAC was.

March 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKate

I remember, while growing up, having a youth group leader who was pregnant and she was having her 4th to 6th c/s. I was so overly confused as to why she couldn't just give birth "normally" and she seemed so "happy" to have a date and just have a baby. I remember the leaders repeating the line from the time that is now coming back "Once a c/s always a c/s." It disturbed me then as it does now.

I think it impacted me the most when I ended up with a c/s with my first baby back in 1998. I am so grateful that I have gone on to have 7 HBAC. I mourn for my YG leader who never got to experience a "REAL" birth. I'm sure she made the most of her surgical births and went in as empowered as she could, but I know who she missed and that saddens me greatly to this day.

March 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSephia

wow 1987 was the year I had my un scientifically indicated cesarean, I guess it was a good year for c-sections.

March 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSaanenMother

An insight on the 80s campaign to lower the c/s rate.
My MIL worked in a hospital on secreterial staff. The doctors there HATED the low c/s rate campaign. EVERY c/s they did required presenting at the M&M rounds so lots of paperwork but of course no one gave them any tools (then or now) to decrease their c/s rates. So the whole hospital's attitude was what a bunch of crap and a waste of their time.
Until we can get ACOG to teach doctors that induction, beds, EFM etc.... lead to c/s asking them to justify everyone they do will only cause resentment.

March 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLori

"My guess is the rate will start going down as the issue as the issue becomes more widely debated" Hmmm. Still waiting for the rates to go down. I see articles in mainstream media discussing the high c-section rates all the time. Rates are still rising. Maybe debate is not enough.

March 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSteph G.

I can't believe we knew this was a problem in 1986 but not much has been done by the medical community to remedy the situation. Yes more women have VBACs these days but they sometimes have to fight like hell to get one, go out of town or state to find a doctor willing to treat them. I will do whatever it takes to get my VBAC

March 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDeborah
Comments for this entry have been disabled. Additional comments may not be added to this entry at this time.