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Around Two-Thirds of Women Can Give Birth Naturally after a C-section

Update Date: Nov 20, 2013 08:44 AM EST
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In a new study, researchers examined the effects of having a Caesarean section on future births. C-sections are usually performed either in an emergency situation or upon request by the pregnant patient. In this study, researchers reported that around two-thirds of the women who had C-sections for their first child were able to have a successful natural birth.

For this study, the researchers looked at a sample of 143,970 women who had a C-section for their first child between 2004 and 2011. Around 52 percent of these women attempted to have a natural birth for their second child. The researchers reported that women under 24-years-old were more like to try a natural birth when compared to women over 34-years-old with the rates of 60 percent and 45 percent respectively. The researchers also found that 62 percent of black women and 64 percent of Asian women tried a vaginal birth whereas only 49 percent of white women did.

The researchers calculated that out of all the women who tried a vaginal birth, 63 percent of them were successful. Younger women had more success than older women (69 percent versus 59 percent). When it came to race, 50 percent of black women and 66 percent of white women were successful.

"The majority of women with an uncomplicated first caesarean section are candidates for attempting VBAC [vaginal birth after caesarean section], but our data found that only half of those women chose this option. Women from a non-white ethnic background were more likely than white women to attempt a VBAC, but the success rate in non-white women was lower," the lead researcher of the study, Hannah Knight said. "Interestingly, we also found an unexplained variation in the rate of attempted and successful VBAC between hospitals, which was independent of maternal demographic and clinical risk factors. An informed discussion about whether or not to attempt a vaginal delivery after a caesarean section requires an assessment of the risk of emergency caesarean, and this paper provides valuable information both for women and the obstetricians and midwives caring for them."

The study was published in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

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