Reduced Baby Risk from Another Cesarean

“We hope that future research will follow up mothers and children involved in this study, so that we can assess any longer term effects of planned mode of birth after cesarean on later maternal health, and the children’s growth and development,” Professor Crowther says.

The BAC study is funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and the Women’s and Children’s Hospital Research Foundation.

If you have undergone a cesarean delivery, you are not alone. In November 2005, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported the national cesarean birth rate was the highest ever at 29.1%, which is over a quarter of all deliveries.

If you desire to try a vaginal delivery this time around, you’ll be happy to know that 90% of women who have undergone cesarean deliveries are candidates for VBAC. Quite interestingly, the highest rate of VBAC is in women who have experienced both vaginal and cesarean births and given the choice, decide to deliver vaginally.

In most published studies, 60-80% or 3 to 4 out of 5 women who have previously undergone cesarean birth can successfully give birth vaginally. After reading the information below and discussing it with your health care provider, you will be able to make an informed decision on whether VBAC may be an option for you this time around.

The study is coordinated by researchers from the University of Adelaide’s Discipline of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and Discipline of Public Health; Department of Neonatal Medicine at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital, Adelaide; and the Faculty of Health Sciences at the Australian Catholic University, Melbourne, with collaboration from clinicians at the 14 participating maternity hospitals.

What are the benefits of a VBAC?
The benefits of a VBAC compared to a C-section include:

Avoiding another scar on your uterus. This is important if you are planning on a future pregnancy. The more scars you have on your uterus, the greater the chance of problems with a later pregnancy.
Less pain after delivery.
Fewer days in the hospital and a shorter recovery at home.
A lower risk of infection.
A more active role for you and your birthing partner in the birth of your child.

What are the risks of VBAC?
The most serious risk of a VBAC is that a C-section scar could come open during labor. This is very rare. But when it does happen, it can be very serious for both the mother and the baby. The risk that a scar will tear open is very low during VBAC when you have just one low cesarean scar and your labor is not started with medicine. This risk is why VBAC is often only offered by hospitals that can do a rapid emergency C-section.

If you have a trial of labor and need to have a C-section, your risk of infection is slightly higher than if you just had a C-section.


University of Adelaide

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