A Bristol VBAC/HBAC Peer Support Group for mums and mums-to-be who have either recently experienced or who are planning a VBAC/HBAC, has recently been set up by local mum, Jenny Clarke.
The group, which meets on Monday evenings once a month in Windmill Hill, aims to provide advice and support about VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean) and HBAC (home birth after caesarean), as well as the opportunity for local women to meet others in a similar position.
Jenny started the group after attending a similar group prior to moving to Bristol, which was vital to her following an emergency caesarean:
“After having an emergency caesarean with my eldest child, I went to a similar group in South London, were we lived at the time. That meeting, where I met two people who have had successful HBACs and other pregnant woman planning VBACs, inspired me to research and plan a HBAC, which I had January 2014 just after moving to Bristol.”
“I then wanted to set up a group here so that anyone planning a VBAC/HBAC had a similar chance to meet people in a similar situation and share experiences and support.”
Jenny explains that so far the meetings have been a success:
“I’ve had an interesting range of people come along, pregnant woman planning a VBAC or HBAC, those who have had VBACs recently, two NHS midwives including one who was there when I had my HBAC a year ago, a trainee antenatal teacher and we’ve had some wide-ranging discussions about our experiences.”
“A woman who came along to the second meeting has had a successful VBAC since and is planning on coming along to the next meeting to discuss her birth, and I’ve also heard from a woman who had a breech VBAC who would like to come along to share her story, it’ll be very inspiring to hear both!”
“It’s a peer support group so it’s intended that we share experiences and support and it doesn’t replace medical advice, as even when I had midwives there they weren’t taking about individual cases, just discussing VBAC/HBACs in general.”
The group has also attracted the support from local birth practitioners:
“I’ve had a lot of interest from midwives, doulas and also a hypnobirthing instructor who have all offered to come along to future meetings, so I’m looking forward to lots more interesting discussions!”
The group is held on Monday evenings once a month at 8 – 10pm at Jenny’s house in Windmill Hill. If the group continues to grow in size and success, however, Jenny plans to move the group to an external venue.
The next meeting will be held on Monday 9th February, 8 – 10pm. If you would like to attend this meeting or future meetings, please email Jenny on firstname.lastname@example.org