VBAC: Is it for you?

Cranbrook VBACAre you faced with the decision of attempting a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) or a repeat c-section? I know you want to do what is best and safest for baby and yourself. I want you to make the right choice for you! So I decided to gather some of my favorite resources and post them all here so you can read through them and make your informed choice!  -Darla




VBAC: making a mountain out of a molehill

I really love this article even though it is based out of Australia, she does a fabulous job of explaining the risk of uterine rupture and describing the numbers and what they really mean. She gives suggestions on how to prepare during pregnancy and what to expect while you’re in labour! I highly recommend this read!

To be honest, as a midwife uterine rupture is the least of my worries when caring for a woman having a VBAC. I actually think the mountain that has been built out of the risk-molehill requires more energy and attention. These women do need special treatment, but not in the form of disempowering fear-based counselling or practice. They have often had a previous traumatic birth experience and are dealing with fear from family, friends, and the medical system, in addition to their own worries. They have been labelled ‘high risk’ and are constantly reminded of the potential disaster waiting to occur. They also risk ‘failing’ if they encounter any complications or end up having a repeat c-section. This impacts on their ability to trust their body, follow their intuition and allow the physiology of birth to unfold. Often these women need more nurturing, reassurance and support from those involved in their birth.”

VBAC Facts!

This is the place to go to get great info, myth busting at it’s finest!

“Many women believe that the only safe choice after a cesarean is another cesarean. Social pressure plays a huge role in a woman’s decision making process and the prevailing American conventional wisdom is greatly influenced by persistent and pervasive myths about vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC). The result is a 86% repeat cesarean rate in America among women with one prior cesarean (1) despite the fact that most women are candidates for VBAC and most VBACs are successful.  Let’s draw a clear line between myth and fact.”


VBAC or Repeat C-Section

So much great information, it’s very thorough in answering questions many women face.

What is the bottom line?

If you do not have a clear and compelling need for a cesarean in the present pregnancy, having a VBAC rather than a repeat c-section is likely to be:

  • safer for you in this pregnancy
  • far safer for you and your babies in any future pregnancies

When thinking about the health and safety of your baby in the present pregnancy, there are trade-offs to consider: VBAC has some advantages, and a repeat c-section has others.


ACOG VBAC Guidelines

This is the gist of the guidelines put out by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, if you want to read the full in depth report you can find it here.

“Attempting a VBAC is a safe and appropriate choice for most women who have had a prior cesarean delivery including for some women who have had two previous cesareans.”


BC VBAC Guidelines

Here you can find the benefits and risks laid out for you as well as answers to some of the more frequently asked questions!

My last thought is to take into consideration your birth team. Having your care provider on board with your hopes of a VBAC put you on the path to a good birth experience. Consider hiring a doula to help your prepare prenatally through working out any fears or doubts you have, and releasing your previous birth story. The extra support during labour can be a game changer!
I hope these resources help you and your family make the right choice for YOU!


Photo Credit: MabyCakes via Compfight cc

Prenatal Class Series- Cranbrook BC

Sign up soon for this upcoming 7 week prenatal class series! Hosted at The Kootenay Therapy Clinic in Cranbrook. Start May 10- June 21, perfect for summer and fall due dates! Come learn about labour and birth from an experienced doula and prenatal teacher! Meet other expecting couples and receive hands on practice supporting your birthing partner!

Register Now

Prenatal classes in Cranbrook + Kimberley BC

World Doula Week Recap!


Cranbrook BC doula

March 22-29, is known as world doula week, perhaps not a well known week of the year for most, but it’s a fun time for doulas to connect, take part in lots of online seminars, and get the word out about doula care!

Last year I wrote this blog post, The Truth About Doulas which has become my most popular post to date! This year I took part in the World Doula Week Photo Challenge,  each day I captured the required image and sent it out across the social media worlds with a little blurb, so here they are again in case you prefer to be social media free and missed it.
It was really fun to share a bit more about myself and my business!
Doula in Kimberley BCDay 1:
My business and I have grown and transformed over the years. From my first business card taken directly from vista print, where I just threw Little Sparrow Birth Services on it cause  the cute bird template asked for a biz name and I thought I had to have one. To Wisdom From Within, which felt a  little closer to explaining how I want to serve but without giving any clue to what my business is about. To Darla Sparrow dot com. It’s been a journey of discovering how I want to show up in the world. How I can connect with the families I serve. Now, and (probably) forever; Mandala Birth. This logo represents so much to me, peace, balance, focus, attention. A mandala is a tool for spiritual guidance and an aid to trance and meditation. These are all qualities needed for a ‘sacred and empowered birth’ which is exactly what I hope to help bring to the families I serve.
I feel like my business and I have really blossomed since moving to Kimberley, my resources are greater, and the depth of the work and care I can to put into clients and programs has expanded. The move has given me a boost and a beautiful feeling of freedom.
Last fall I had a designer help create the logo you see now and it has given me a sense of pride and pushed me to take my business to new places, beyond my comfort zone-yet to exactly where I need to be. Birth work is my passion. I had no idea it would also be about personal growth and learning to love all the in + outs of being an entrepreneur.
Darla Sparrow Doula, Kimberley BC
Day 2:
I love this quote by Pamela Hunt from Birth Story. The moment I heard it, I had a flash back to the first birth I ever attended, I remember the moment I fell in love with that mama, how beautiful and strong she was. I am so proud of each women I work with and I confess, I fall in love with each of you.
Kimberley Rebozo
Day 3:
This has become my most prized, trusted and adored doula tool. This is a rebozo, a beautiful Mexican shawl with a crazy vast array of applications. Every couple I work with now gets rebozo’d at some point whether in prenatals or in labour, I have seen major progress and changes take place with the simple use of a rebozo. Doulas- never leave home without it! I love teaching rebozo class and optimal fetal positioning class with it. I can’t wait for the day I rebozo a mama up in a hospital bed! Ha! Anyways, I’ll have to make a video for those who have no idea what I’m talking about.
Ps. My other favs are my hands and my voice, these are my 3 most used items.
Birth Doula in Cranbrook BC
Day 4:
I actually don’t have a favourite go-to-post-birth-food. My immediate thought, seeing today’s challenge was my bed, that’s all I want when I get home. But I do usually slam a pint of water with an Ener-C, so that’s my “food” of the day.
Birth Doula in Kimberley BC
Day 5:
The magic of the doula bag revealed!
Small suitcase on wheels carries all this!
  • birth ball
  • heating pad
  • rebozo
  • TENS machine
  • LED candles
  • massage tools and scentless oil
  • vitamin C lollipops
  • ener-C
  • energy bars
  • cards
  • flashlight
  • bendy straws
  • gloves
  • The Birth Partner
  • change of clothes
  • extra socks
  • my toiletries
  • oatmeal +frozen meal
  • because I don’t drink caffeine I have a bag of Kick Start made by Harmonic Arts
  • whatever novel I’m reading
  • change for parking
  • and these days more often then not I’m bring my placenta cooler and magic bullet for making bedside smoothies
Wheeew that’s about everything!
Ina May Gaskin, Cranbrook
Day 6:
My very first mentors, the sweet and gentle Pamela Hunt & the very well known Ina May Gaskin. I dove right into the birth world and went to The Farm for my first training.  I took the Midwifery Assistant training and discussed returning to apprentice with Pamela, only to discover upon returning home that I was pregnant with my first babe!
Cranbrook Birth Doula
Day 7:
Finishing off World Doula week with a little tour of my office. I am a really lucky lady that I get a whole room to myself to work, my man is so supportive of me and my doula work, he even built me this desk last time he was home. Which is a big deal cuz he’s only home for 6 days at a time.
So on to the tour! Top left photo is my work space, I’ve got my goal sheet on the wall, my motivational picture I made myself with words from Leonie Dawson, lap top and doula binder and a ridiculous amount of pens, that I really need to distribute more evenly around the house. Top right is my sewing and printing station, with my color coded thread! If you squint hard you can see some art by Autumn Skye Morrison, The Wild Unknown and a framed Christmas party invite from The Atangard. Bottom left my lovely logo banner! My thank you card wall space, an enormous basket full of fabric, some art and my 8 year old coffee plant. Bottom right is my lending library which clients have full access to, soooo many good books, sorta over flowing!
I live in Kimberley BC, I serve Kimberley and Cranbrook. If you’re pregnant and interested in a doula, prenatal classes or placenta encapsulation give me a shout! This has been super fun to share a bit more about myself and business!

Naturopathic Prenatal Care, Kimberley BC

I had the pleasure of meeting with Dr. Darcie Pawlick from Roots To Health, this past month to discuss her new prenatal care packages she’s just started offering! I’m so excited to share this news with local Kimberley & Cranbrook mamas as I’ve seen how well combining naturopathic/acupuncture care and modern prenatal care work together.

prenatal care Cranbrook, BCDr. Darcie has been practicing naturopathic medicine for three years and has always had a special interest in women’s health care; this past fall she took further training to become a naturopathic doula. Although she won’t be attending births at the moment, she is happy to announce her new prenatal services created specifically for women’s main health concerns during pregnancy.

Through diet and lifestyle counseling, botanical (herbal) medicine, supplements and acupuncture, Dr. Darcie can address symptoms such as:

  • anemia
  • nausea
  • fatigue
  • edema
  • constipation
  • adrenals

She can also work with you before your Group B strep test, and help with acupuncture to prepare your body in the late weeks of pregnancy for labour!

Check out the different packages available for your prenatal care, there’s something for every woman. Whether you’re looking for a few tips in one visit or you want to go all in, with the comprehensive multi-visit package with acupuncture until your due date.

One thing I really loved about Darcie, aside from her passion and love for what she does; was her dedication to providing evidence based care. This is a pet peeve of mine in the birth field so it cheered me to hear her speak of research documents on best practice and care! I’m really glad we made the connection and I know I’ll be sending lots of moms to visit her. I look forward to being able to work together with Dr. Darcie in providing women of the community with the best prenatal care available. And I hope in the future to be able to attend births with her, if her clients load allows.

Dr. Darcie is accepting clients at Roots to Health Clinic here in Kimberely and is also available Fridays by appointment in Cranbrook at Cranbrook Chiropractic and Wellness Center. 


Roots to Health
734 Rotary drive,
Kimberley, BC V1A 1E3

Cranbrook Chiropractic
1516 6th St N,
Cranbrook, BC V1C 3M5

B.R.A.I.N. – Choices in Pregnancy & Birth

Dear Mamas,

It is my hope that parents are receiving all the information necessary in order to make an informed choice throughout pregnancy and birth.
birth plan, Abbotsford doula, Kimberley BCExpectant parents face many choices throughout pregnancy, from care provider, to tests, and procedures. In labour parents are sometimes forced to make tough, heart breaking decisions. Facing the unknown at this juncture can be overwhelming, as this may be the point where you begin to depart from your desired birth plan. Often times though, the situation isn’t dire and you have every right to ask for some time to think about things,  gather information, and weigh your options before making your decision. I’m going to give you this handy acronym to take with you through pregnancy & labour! The B.R.A.I.N!


As you gather information these are the questions you need to ask when faced with a suggested procedure/test/action.

What are the benefits? What can we hope or expect from doing this? How is it done?
What are the risks involved? Are there any side-effects or ulterior consequences? What’s the next step if this doesn’t work?
What’s an alternative to this? Are there other options we can try first?
What does my intuition say about this procedure? Listen to your inner wisdom, your instinctive knowing, your gut feelings.
What if we do nothing? What if we wait? Is there a risk to waiting? What if we wait an hour? A day? A week? Ask for time alone to contemplate.

hospital birth, abbotsford doulaBy being well prepared, informed, supported, and using the B.R.A.I.N. concept you are able to make informed choices. Couples who have deviated from their hopeful birth plan, have said that they were still able to feel they had a satisfying birth, if they felt they had choices and made the decisions themselves.

Use the B.R.A.I.N. concept now in pregnancy when faced with tests, as you create your birth plan and as you begin researching your birth options, different resources, procedures, medications and drugs.



I hope this is a useful tool to you on your journey!



Photo by: Sharalee Prang Photography, Photo Credit: David Swift Photography via Compfight cc