You bet they are! While there is zero evidence to support the myth that some hospitals are not equipped to handle Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC), some prominent Bay Area hospitals still have policies in place not allowing parents to choose a Trial of Labor (term to describe laboring with the goal of a Vaginal Birth After Cesarean. It is considered a VBAC, only after the birth), instead of a repeat cesarean.

What hospitals you say? Check the numbers below. Some hospitals have an actual policy outright banning VBAC, and some have no actual policy, but very few providers that will support it, and only then under very tight parameters.

These rates are per 100 live births and the percent is for all births with a prior cesarean. So this is not the rates compared to all births that occurred, just whether or not it was a Vaginal Birth After Cesarean or a Cesarean Birth after Cesarean.

Of course there are many reasons a person may choose to labor, or schedule surgery, and of course there are many reasons why a surgical birth may become necessary during the process. The reason for displaying these numbers is to show the wide range in what is happening all over the East Bay Area. An OB at one hospital tells a parent they are an excellent candidate for a Trial of Labor, and an OB at another hospital tells the same parent that a Trial of Labor is too risky for them. Or they may say that the hospital is not equipped to handle certain emergencies. For more information on the myths surrounding VBAC, including that a hospital is “not equipped” please visit VBACFacts.com.

I find this unacceptable. Heartbreaking, even. I heard from a local midwife that serves many families looking for a VBAC friendly provider, that many would not choose homebirth if they had the option to go to a hospital and be supported in their labor, but the simple fact is they don’t have that option. While I feel homebirth is a wonderful experience, it truly is not for everyone. Everyone deserves to labor and give birth where they feel most comfortable. They deserve accurate, evidence-based information and support. They deserve to know the truth and not be bullied or have scare tactics used in order to coerce them into a particular decision.

Please tell me you if can look at these numbers and that it makes any sense to you? Looking across the bay to to San Francisco General hospital we see a rate of 44.5%. Why is there such a large difference? Have you asked your provider what the percent is for their practice?

Alameda County

%

Alameda County Medical Center

%

Kaiser – Oakland

%

Alta Bates Summit Medical Center

%

Saint Rose Hospital

%

Eden Medical Center

%

Valleycare Medical Center

%

Kaiser – Hayward

%

Washington Hospital

Contra Costa County

%

Contra Costa Regional Medical Center

%

San Ramon Regional Medical Center

%

 John Muir Medical Center

%

Sutter Delta Medical Center

%

Kaiser – Antioch

%

Kaiser – Walnut Creek

All of California

%

State Average

Highest in California

%

San Francisco General Hospital

Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Quality Indicators, SAS Software, Version 4.5 and OSHPD Hospital Patient Discharge Data, 2013.