Book Review “Birth after Caesarean” by Hazel Keedle (Australia 2022)
1 in 3 women in Australia have a caesarean as a mode of birth. Chances are that those women are having more children and therefore are planning their next birth after a c-section. The book “Birth after Caesarean” is based on findings of Hazel Keedle’s research “The experience of women planning a VBAC in Australia”.
The book is an excellent evidence – based resource that provides you with the latest research and information so you can make an informed decision about your next birth after a c-section.
I particularly liked reading about Hazel’s own experiences of having a VBAC, navigating this as a midwife herself and experiencing how challenging the medical system can be.
Hazel has gained great insight into the world of Australian women planning a VBAC through her research and conducting the Australian National VBAC Survey. She acknowledges that it is not easy for most to reflect on their previous caesarean and writes with empathy and suggests to the reader to get some tissues and chocolates to get through the next chapter.
Hazel educates on what birth trauma is and what the symptoms are and how and where to find professional help if a mum chooses to.
Hazel then covers all the bases of risks of VBAC and repeat/elective caesarean and provides comments and evidence-based information on a list of “Can I have a VBAC if…?” which is highly valuable if you need it.
Through her research, Hazel has identified four factors that are contributing to how a woman felt after her birth and that if those four factors were fulfilled a woman felt more resolved and positive after their birth experience, regardless of how they birthed. Those four factors are having control, having confidence, having a relationship (hello continuity of care!) and having an active labour.
Hazel goes into detail about the importance of each factor and provides practical how-to for you to implement them so you can set yourself up for a better birth.
Having had a VBA2C myself I can absolutely attest that those four factors are crucial for feeling empowered and supported. For me, it was particularly having continuity of care, which gave me confidence and provided me with resources and a sounding board of my decision-making process, which gave me a sense of control. A doula can be a great member of your team that provides continuity of care in a non-medical way.
At the end of the book Hazel gives guidance on “planning for a gentle caesarean”, she describes what is possible and encourages you to discuss with your care provider how a gentle caesarean can look like for you.
Hazel concludes with birth stories from 15 women around the world that are truly inspiring.
There’s nothing better than reading about mums coming into their power, owning their choices and experiencing a healing birth! Get the tissues ready!
Hazel emphasises throughout her book that checking all the things off the checklist and making sure you have those four factors covered is not a guarantee that you are having a vaginal birth next time as this is simply outside of our control.
However, as Hazel states in her final thoughts on page 219: “As a midwife and a researcher, I believe that you can have a better birth and that the four factors of control, confidence, relationship and active labour are pivotal in you achieving that better-birthing experience.”
As a VBA2C mama myself and a doula, I can highly recommend this book to you and I believe it’s a must read for health care providers, birth workers and mums (and their partners) that are planning their next birth after a caesarean.
My name is Josi Mear, and I am a qualified doula who has trained at the Doula Training Academy. If you would like more information about my doula services, please contact me:
Nurtured by Josi
0416 837 778