Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Grassroots Network: NIH VBAC Consensus Conference Information

Dear Friends,

The National Institutes of Health are holding a “consensus development conference” on the issue of VBAC in early March. You can attend in person but there is also the option of registering for the Webcast, where registrants will also be able to submit questions on-line.

The announcement below includes brief background, but you can find more extensive background, plus a listing of the entire program, at: There is also detailed information about the venue, transportation, etc.

On the web page above, there is a menu choice of “get involved”. The very last item is “contact us with questions or comments”. Given our experience with the consensus conference on “maternal choice cesarean section” a few years ago, the NIH definitely needs to hear from many people, from both inside and outside the hospital walls, for there to be any chance of a fair or meaningful “consensus” to be reached.

It is worth reading through the program topics and who is speaking on them. Almost all of the speakers are OBs. It is interesting that no mention is made of the use of drugs to stimulate or augment labor as an issue in the safety of VBAC –hopefully that will be addressed… There appears to be virtually no consideration about the manner in which VBAC is undertaken (support? Use of drugs? Attitude of provider? Type of provider? Etc.) which seems like a pretty important topic related to frequency, success and risks. There is a section for “mothers’ stories” – by a USA Today medical reporter, the next to last speaker on the program. Does anyone know her? And, of course, there is no listed topic addressing the high and increasing rate of cesarean section, an underlying factor.

We know consumers and others made a difference by attending, commenting and speaking up at the “maternal choice cesarean” NIH conference. So, let’s make use of this opportunity to make our voices heard in whatever way we can regarding VBAC.


Susan Hodges, “gatekeeper”


Join the National Institutes of Health's Consensus Development Conference on Vaginal Birth After Cesarean: New Insights

March 8-10, 2010
Natcher Conference Center | NIH Campus | Bethesda, Maryland

For most of the 20th century, clinicians believed that once a woman had undergone a cesarean, all of her future pregnancies required delivery by that procedure as well. In the 1980s, vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) also began to be considered a viable option for these women. Since 1996, however, VBAC rates in the United States have consistently declined, while cesarean delivery rates have been steadily rising.

What accounts for these changing practice patterns? Frequently cited concerns about VBAC include the possibility of uterine rupture during labor, infection, and other complications. However, repeat cesarean delivery carries risks for both mother and baby, and may impact future pregnancies.

Be part of pivotal discussions that will help answer critical questions related to vaginal birth after cesarean. The conference is free and open to the public. Your input is valuable. Please join us!

Information and Registration: | 1-888-644-2667

Can't attend?
Webcast registration: -- there will be the ability to ask questions online.
Pre-order statement:

Continuing Education for this activity is pending. Please see the final announcement for details.

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