Do you worry about providing your clients with inaccurate information about VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) and repeat cesarean?
Do you want to increase VBAC access in your community through changing hospital policy?
Are you tired of reading sources that seem to conflict with each other?
Do you want reliable information, but are too busy working to spend months compiling it?
Whether you are new to the subject of VBAC or you've been serving VBAC families for years, allow me to share what I've learned over the last decade through my experience and research as a consumer advocate, national speaker, and founder of VBAC Facts.
I'm Jen Kamel. Let's create some change.
But at 35 weeks, my baby was in a footling breech position and all of a sudden, I was on the road to a surgical birth.
When my doctor tried to manually turn the baby at 37 weeks, it didn't work. My cesarean was scheduled for the following week.
While my family tried to cheer me up, what I really needed was for someone to validate my conflicting feelings. Yes, I was so excited to meet my baby. But I was also disappointed and scared. This was the first surgery of my life.
My cesarean was routine and my obstetrician was sympathetic. Nevertheless, I felt like I was hit by a truck and handed a baby.
Before my cesarean, I felt like a powerful, competent, self-sufficient professional. Afterwards, I was completely dependent on others to help me with basic functions like walking to the bathroom and feeding my baby. It was humbling.
Some women have really easy recoveries, but I was not one of them. I struggled with post-partum depression and it took me 9 months to feel like me again.
My OB told me right after my cesarean that I would be an excellent candidate for VBAC, so I knew that there was another option.
Yet, I had a lot to learn and what makes me scared is the unknown. So I reduced my fears by diving into the facts. Through that process, I was able to make an informed decision about what was right for me.
Over the next few years, I absorbed information. I questioned. I kept copious notes. I learned how to find and evaluate medical research. I read everything I could.
When someone said something that didn’t ring true, I asked for their source (often they didn’t have one.) Or I just did the research myself to confirm or refute their statement. It became like a game to me. And I loved it.
This journey also enabled me to release any judgment I felt towards other women. The truth is there are real risks and benefits to VBAC and repeat cesarean. And both are valid and reasonable options.
Three and a half years later, through my research, planning, and the whiff of luck that is always at play in birth, I was able to have a victorious VBAC with my next child and meet my sweet son.
My labor was 9 hours from start to finish. While the last 90 minutes were very intense – I like to joke that the F-bomb was my doula - I managed and achieved my goal of an unmedicated vaginal delivery.
To immediately hold my son, breastfeed him, and be fully mentally present from the moment he was introduced into the world was absolutely priceless.
Being able to eat, use the restroom, and shower shortly after delivery made me feel human. To sleep without waking up to stabbing pain for weeks meant that while I was tired, I wasn’t so painfully exhausted.
I felt like me, with a baby, and it was an entirely new experience of motherhood. My son and I spend the first three days of his life sleeping, nursing, and relaxing. It was so different in the very best way.
My VBAC was very healing for me. It saddened me to think that there were women around America, and throughout the world, who were denied this option.
I saw their stories online every day. I felt their pain, fear, and desperation.
I couldn’t imagine being effectively forced into a cesarean because the option of VBAC was denied to me. Feeling hopeless and powerless is an awful way to begin your relationship with your baby.
And yet, that is the experience of millions of women around the world. I wanted to help those women in any way I could.
So at two weeks post-partum, sitting on my hemorrhoid ring which I called “The Throne," I started vbacfacts.com.
My mission? To increase VBAC access through educational programs, legislative action, and amplifying the consumer voice. I envision a time when every pregnant person seeking VBAC has access to unbiased information, respectful providers, and community support so they can plan the birth of their choosing in the setting they desire.
Within three years, I had created this program and was traveling the country speaking.
The response? People describe "The Truth About VBAC for Professionals and Providers" as “outstanding, easy to understand, non-judgmental, priceless, and the best resource to date.”
Did you know that increasing VBAC access is a part of a science-based, 10-year national objective for improving the health of all Americans?
It's true! It's part of the Healthy People 2020 goals.
They want to increase the American VBAC rate to 18.3% by 2020. Currently it's 11.3%.
Yes, that is a huge leap to make in three years.
But I know we can do it - you and I together - if we just take it one step at a time.
Are you ready to join me? To really make a change in your community? To be the one who hears the call and responds?
VBAC is a political hot potato resulting in conflicting opinions that all seem to cite the very same national guidelines and research.
Through over 30 bite-sized video lessons, I share every step of the process for achieving clarity on the latest VBAC and repeat cesarean evidence so you can confidently help your clients make an informed choice!
Big babies, postdates, birth intervals, single versus dual layer suturing, uterine thickness, the VBAC calculator... I cover it all.
Throughout this six-hour online training, we will review multiple sources, how people have interpreted them, and how to evaluate medical literature so moving forward, you will be able to read and understand research. (Spoiler Alert: Reading the abstract isn't sufficient.)
You’ll also learn about the evidence on hospital versus out-of-hospital VBAC so you can have an open, honest, and frank conversation with your patients about birth location that is based on facts, not hearsay or isolated incidents.
You’ll become familiar with hospital VBAC bans and national recommendations so you can understand how politics and the (mis)interpretation of ACOG guidelines are contributing to the rising maternal morbidity and mortality rates.
I'll break down for you why VBAC is so hard, and even impossible, for parents to access and the massive public health implications when political and legal concerns drive medical care... and how that has exposed providers to a whole new level of legal risk.
After working directly with thousands of medical providers and birth professionals over the last decade, I know the challenges you face and the information you want.
This course is designed to answer all the questions people typically ask as well as the questions they don't even know to ask.
The entire course is immediately available to you upon registration. You can either binge watch it in one sitting or watch a lecture every couple days. I'll send you reminder emails throughout the program with links to the next lecture so you will always know what to do next.
“Bravo! I absolutely loved 'The Truth About VBAC' online program – I learned SO much! Jen does an amazing job of summarizing the latest evidence on VBACs and repeat Cesareans in a way that is easy to understand.
In this class, Jen simply presents accurate facts and lets the evidence speak for itself. I strongly recommend this class to anyone who is interested in learning about VBAC!" Read Rebecca's entire review.
- Rebecca Dekker, PhD, RN, APRN, Founder, Evidence Based Birth
"I'm a busy OB/GYN physician with a particular interest in ensuring that women in my region have a safe and well-publicized option for post-Cesarean hospital birthing.
However, my interest in attending Jen Kamel's 'The Truth about VBAC' Spokane, WA workshop in July 2014 was in knowing what was being discussed in the greater birthing community and I couldn't have more pleased, even happily surprised.
Ms. Kamel has put together a presentation that is biased in only one very appropriate direction — that of fully informed patients and birth attendants. She not only presents the most recent ACOG guidelines and the studies by which they were formed, but also leads a well-informed discussion about historical perspectives and the challenges faced by providers and hospitals, careful to never to excuse us from doing the one thing we all promised at our professional outset — to do no harm.
Our patients and communities can only benefit from a more-informed discussion about C-sections and post-Cesarean birthing and we're all lucky to have someone out front with such informed passion."
- Nathan Meltzer, OB/GYN
"Jen has clear and concise information that puts aside agendas and allows for the most reliable informed consent standards I have seen on the topic of VBAC.
She is able to provide an understanding of the methodology applied in different studies. She helps participants to understand the validity of results based on the sample sizes and design of various studies.
She was also very effective at allowing for the discussion to move past the popular aspects of the debate (rates of rupture) into areas rarely acknowledged.
Her program helped our practice create a better VBAC informed consent for our clients. I have also added her workshop as a requirement in the educational program we use for our students."
- Michelle Hernandez, CPM (Certified Professional Midwife)
"After attending 'The Truth About VBAC,' I knew the facts, the studies that supported the facts, and I knew how to interpret the numbers to best understand what they were saying.
I am better able to point my clients to real evidence and help them translate the studies into information they can use to make the best birth decisions for themselves, their babies, and their whole family."
- Heather Schweich, VBAC Mom & Birth Doula
“This course is interesting, organized, and most importantly, evidence-based! Some of my favorite parts included the many charts, which illustrate statistics regarding cesarean section and VBAC in the United States. I'm a visual learner, and putting those numbers in perspective really made it click for me. This class would be a great fit for parents, educators, doulas, and any health professional working with mothers and babies. A fabulous educational opportunity!"
- Lindsey Rupp, CD(DONA), CLS, PCD (DONA)
Jen Kamel has been a VBAC Strategist and nationally recognized consumer advocate since she founded VBAC Facts nearly a decade ago. Through her work, she has traveled the country as a national speaker and California Board of Registered Nursing Continuing Education Provider presenting her program "The Truth About VBAC" to hundreds of professionals and highly motivated parents. She has also worked as a legislative consultant in various states including California, Kentucky, Oklahoma, and Indiana focusing on midwifery legislation and regulations. She has spoken at national conferences including the American Association of Birth Centers, DONA, Lamaze, ICAN, and Human Rights in Childbirth and has been a featured guest on several radio shows and podcasts. She has testified multiple times in front of the California Medical Board and legislative committees on the importance of VBAC access, is a board member for the California Association of Midwives, and has served as an expert witness in a legal proceeding.
VBAC Facts demystifies the misinformation about vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) and repeat cesarean for parents, birth professionals, and medical providers so parents can recognize their options from a place of clarity and power and finally feel in control of their bodies and decisions.
VBAC Facts seeks to elevate ethics, autonomy, and evidence above liability, cost, and convenience by highlighting how a multitude of invisible factors can influence and artificially limit access to medical care to the detriment of mothers and babies.
VBAC Facts believes that every woman should have access to VBAC and not be forced into surgery per hospital policy or provider preference.
Upon completion of this program, attendees will be able to:
Yes! “The Truth About VBAC" has been approved for 6.6 continuing education hours from the California Board of Registered Nursing. These CEs are accepted by all RN boards, NARM, ICEA, Lamaze, DONA, and CAPPA as well as many other medical and health organizations.
Those that attend the on-line class must earn 80% on a quiz in order to earn CEs.
Not all organizations accept nursing continuing education hours or CEs earned via on-line courses. Check with your particular organization.
Provider approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing, Continuing Education Provider #16238, for 6.6 continuing education hours.
You might be wondering, is this course worth it?
If you want to learn the facts, it absolutely is.
It will save you countless hours of trying to compile all the information yourself.
It walks you through the medical evidence and national guidelines so you can tell for yourself when someone - a provider, a client, or a colleague- is saying something that is just not true.
It gives you access to medical research that is not available to the public. I'll explain to you how research is conducted and how to evaluate it so you really understand what you are looking at.
This skill set is something you can use time and time again.
Plus understanding the research will enable you to piece together a more complete picture of VBAC and repeat cesarean not only for yourself, but for your clients.
Having that foundation of knowledge will enable you to help your clients better navigate their options as well as take part in well-informed conversations within the health care system and their personal lives.
We deconstruct the politics of birth pulling back the veil on VBAC bans: What hospitals are "allowed" to offer VBAC? What hospitals aren't? What is the difference between what "everyone knows is true" and what ACOG actually says?
I'll show you the evidence on uterine rupture and big baby, going overdue, thin uterus, single vs. dual layer suturing, birth intervals, and more.
In short, you will walk away with clarity on VBAC, repeat cesarean, home birth, hospital birth, VBAC bans, and the birthing parent's legal rights.
You will also be able to speak intelligently with anyone about VBAC and repeat cesarean.
This will not only increase your confidence, but you will help others by sharing accurate information, gently debunking misinformation and directing them to where they can learn more.
The various birth professionals and medical providers who have taken my course have described it as "priceless" and "the best resource to date."
The clarity they received was immensely valuable to them, their practice, and the families they serve.
They were no longer confused about evidence.
They no longer wondered if _______ was supported by the medical literature or national guidelines. They knew.
If you want to achieve what I just described, then "The Truth About VBAC for Professionals and Providers" is for you.
See you inside!