NIH Consensus Development Conference on VBAC: Ways to Participate from Work and Home

NIH Consensus Development Conference on VBAC: Ways to Participate from Work and Home


The NIH Consensus Development Conference on VBAC is fast approaching.

This is an exceedingly important event not just for birth and VBAC activists but also for all women who currently have, are having, or plan to have children.

For while the NIH Consensus Development Program in general does not intend to issue legal documents, policy statements, or practice guidelines in its consensus statements (or the general findings and recommendations drafted at the end of each conference), these statements often do affect medical policies and practices.

In other words, the statement that comes out of this conference might very well have a profound effect on policies, practices, availability, and attitudes toward VBAC in the future.

This is enormously important, not only for women’s reproductive health but also for women’s rights, bodily integrity, and autonomy.

It’s important for anyone who ever has or ever plans to give birth.

And it’s especially important for those of us who have cesarean scars on our uterus.

This VBACtivist is currently packing her bags and getting ready to head out to Bethesda tomorrow for the conference!  But for those of you who cannot attend yet want to participate in or even just be aware of the conference proceedings as they happen, there are loads of ways that you can do so from work and from home:

Watch the Live and/or Archived Webcasts

You can find the live webcast on the NIH website at:  (If you cannot view the proceedings live, the NIH will post the archived webcasts at approximately one week after the conference.)

The NIH does recommend that you sign up for the webcast ahead of time so that they can ensure adequate capacity for all those interested in viewing the proceedings.

If you plan to watch live, the conference dates and times are as follows:

  • Monday, March 8 from 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. EST
  • Tuesday, March 9 from 8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. EST
  • Wednesday, March 10 from 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. EST

Follow VBACtivists on Twitter

Some the conference attendees and viewers plan to take to Twitter (perhaps even via “live-tweeting”) in order to post  updates on the conference proceedings.  If you’d like to follow the proceedings on Twitter, you can follow the #NIHVBAC hashtag or the NIH’s own Twitter account, @nihconsensus.

Other VBACtivist “tweeters” include:

@kristen_bbi (me)

@Feminist Breeder





@BirthBabiesBlog  (Danielle will also be live-blogging the conference!)

(If you’d like your name to be added to this list, please let me know!)

Access the Panel’s Draft Consensus Statement

The conference panel will present their draft consensus statement on Wednesday, March 9.  (They will release their final statement approximately six weeks after the conference.)

You do not need to be present at the conference in order to access this statement as it is released!  (Although if you are in the area, you can go to the Natcher Conference Center on the main NIH campus in Bethesda, Maryland on Wednesday, March 10 at 9:00 a.m. EST in order to see the live presentation.)

You can also watch the statement presentation live via webcast at

And if you can’t watch the live presentation, you can sign up to receive an email when the final statements are available online, or you can even sign up to receive a final copy of the statement in the mail.

You can also look for the panel’s draft statement later that on Wednesday, March 9 on the NIH website at


Participate in the Press Telebriefing

After the panel presents their statement, and after the public has been given the chance to weigh in on the statement, the panel will hold a press telebriefing at 2:00 p.m. EST on Wednesday, March 9.  This telebriefing is available via telephone conference call only, but you do not need to pre-register in order to participate in the telebriefing.

To dial into the telebriefing, please call 1-888-428-7458 (within the US) or 201-604-5177 (international).

If you are a member of the media, you can also register for the press telebriefing in order to receive relevant media materials before the telebriefing.  You can find pre-registration materials and other media resources here:

While non-media members are not permitted to ask questions during the telebriefing, they can still call in to listen to the draft consensus statement. The NIH recommends that you call five to ten minutes before the telebriefing begins.

Keep Sending Me Your Stories

I’m planning to take your voices to the conference–especially your stories of lies, misinformation, and scare tactics regarding VBAC.  If you haven’t shared your story here yet, please do!

Continue Reading Birthing Beautiful Ideas

I will be blogging every afternoon and/or evening following each day’s events, so stay tuned to see my updates on the conference.  I’m hoping to come back with lots of positive reports!

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  1. TheFeministBreeder

    Okay, you saying that you were packing up and heading out just gave me an ENORMOUS panic attack. I have not even packed yet. OY.
    .-= TheFeministBreeder´s last blog ..VBAC Access is a Human Rights Issue =-.

    • BirthingBeautifulIdeas

      @TFB – Um, you’ve organized a VBACtivist luncheon, written an amazing blog post on VBAC rights, and planned three radio shows for next week. You can slack a little on packing!

  2. Danielle

    Thanks for the shout out! I will be tweeting, as well as blogging live on my site. I have already added a tab at the top for NIH VBAC.
    I can’t wait to see what everyone has to say!
    .-= Danielle´s last blog ..Barbara Harper on the Momotics Radio Show =-.

  3. The Week’s Wrap Up | Momotics
    The Week’s Wrap Up | Momotics03-07-2010

    […] Kristen from Birthing Beautiful Ideas discusses NIH VBAC in detail and discusses who to watch for. […]

  4. Jill--Unnecesarean

    This post is great. I’m glad you mentioned signing up for the webcast.
    .-= Jill–Unnecesarean´s last blog ..Why VBACs Should Be the Norm, Not the Deviant Care Pattern =-.

  5. jenny

    I just saw a pic from a tweet TFB put on her blog of a power point and it made me JEALOUS! Go get em’ girls!

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