Research looks at risks of VBAC

By Julie Griffiths on 11 May 2018 Caesarean Section Research

The risk of complications during vaginal birth is higher for mothers and infants following a previous caesarean (CS), a new study has found.

However, the researchers stressed that the overall risk of a complication for any one woman in this situation remains low.

The new findings have come after an analysis of data from nearly 200,000 Canadian women who had a prior CS and then gave birth between 2003 and 2014.

The researchers said in the Canadian Medical Association Journal that attempting vaginal birth after a prior CS ‘continues to be associated with higher relative rates of severe adverse maternal and neonatal outcomes’ compared to undergoing another CS.

The researchers found that outcomes among infants – but not among mothers – worsened between 2003 and 2015 in cases where the baby was delivered vaginally after a prior CS.

That finding was unexpected and study author Dr Carmen Young of the University of Alberta said further study is needed to help explain it.

According to the researchers, the findings show the importance of appropriate patient selection for attempting a vaginal birth for women with a prior history of CS.

There also needs to be careful monitoring of labour and birth to reduce the risks for these women and their infants.

Dr Young said that the decision as to mode of birth depended on the woman's desire for a vaginal birth, her tolerance for risk and the size of family that is planning.

She added that the absolute rates of adverse maternal and neonatal outcomes are low.

Read the full research study here.