MANILA — Former actress Rica Peralejo recently welcomed her second son with husband Joseph Bonifacio, particularly via vaginal birth after caesarean (VBAC) at home, and completely unmedicated throughout her 25-hour labor.
The process which she referred to as a “miracle” drew awed reactions from fellow mothers, as well as inquisitive comments and concerned ones.
In a lengthy Instagram post days after she gave birth, Peralejo addressed some questions from followers about her choice of means to give birth.
Peralejo explained that it was her “goal from the beginning” to have VBAC, pointing out that she was a “good candidate” since her last birth via caesarean section was five years ago.
Perelajo had always intended to undergo labor at home, “kasi hindi ko kaya ang feeling sa ospital.”
“When I last labored there, nailang ako and nahirapan pakinggan ang aking katawan,” she said.
She sought the help of an OB-GYN who supported VBAC, and was cleared for the undertaking. The doctor, Peralejo said, even offered to lend her Doppler to monitor her baby once she would go into labor.
Peralejo then hired a midwife so a professional healthcare provider would present to monitor her vital stats and her baby’s heartbeat through the labor.
“As the pregnancy was progressing, and I was preparing for labor at home naisip ko what if I actually give birth at home? But talking to my doula helped clarify my thoughts. That we can have home, hospital, water or dry birth naman talaga but it really all depends on how I fare as the due date is nearing,” she wrote.
Parelajo explained: “We needed to be sure that I was fit and healthy, and walang complications like bleeding or low amniotic fluid or any placenta complications to achieve the gentle VBAC I was after. (Note that I also was in touch with my immuno every month for the management of my suspected apas. Sinunod ko din ang mga payo niya sa treatments even if I had the option to say no. I did all that to stay on the safe side.)”
Throughout her pregnancy, Peralejo said she made it a point to be “faithful” to her OB-GYN’s requests for check-ups and scans. She also turned to her faith through prayers, and studied her options extensively to be informed of the risks of her birthing preferences.
It was at that point that she arrived at the decision to settle for homebirth, which was not without its risks, Peralejo noted. The same, however, can be said for hospital births, she added.
“All we need to do is check the stats to see deaths and complications that also arise in the hospital, and not only the ones at home. Katulad nalang ng repeat CS, highly medicalized births where mother is under powerful drugs to help the birth. May mga pinipirmahan tayong waiver nun for risks and side effects diba? So lahat may risk. Hindi puwedeng wala. Ospital man o bahay,” she said.
Weighing her options, Peralejo ultimately went for vaginal birth at home, without medication, citing her past experience.
“Personally, iniiwasan ko ‘yung heavy drugs and CS bec I feel like after ko maoperahan for my CS five yearrs ago, that’s when my body began to change and it became sick. Medicines help, yes, but also, it does something bad to our guts. Diyan ako pinakatakot, na malagyan ako at ang baby ko ng sobrang daming gamot na hindi naman kailangan and compromise our gut and immune system,” she explained.
She went on to urge her followers, specifically expectant and future mothers, to never go into any birthing procedure “without being informed of all the risks and your choices.”
“Do not go without getting the best healthcare providers. Hindi pwedeng magisa lang gawin ang ganitong mga bagay, lalo na sa dami ng information out there. Make sure someone guides you through it all and for me, that was my ob gyn, doula, and midwife. All reputable and can be trusted. I listened to all of what they have to say and made my own mind about the matter. It wasn’t done in haste and ignorance,” she said.
After sharing a list of resource materials on the topic, Peralejo concluded: “Do your own research for the kind of birth that you want and I pray God will bless you with great answers!”