Women who opt for a vaginal birth after first delivering a child via cesarean section may be putting themselves and their newborns at risk, say researchers based on findings of a recent study. Though the overall chance anything will go wrong is extremely small, uterine rupture is possible, as is injury to the newborn due to lack of oxygen (hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy). Women may also experience endometritis and a greater need for a blood transfusion.
It was observed that doctors believe, women who have one C-section have to deliver all subsequent babies by that route. However, other doctors have suggested some women can deliver vaginally even if they previously delivered by C-section. This study aimed to see how vaginal birth after a c-section affects mother and child.
Thus researchers followed about 46,000 women who had had previous C-sections to see how vaginal birth after a c-section affects mother and child. About 18,000 decided to try a vaginal birth. Three-quarters of that group were successful in delivering a healthy baby by the vaginal route. The remainder required a C-section anyway. Uterine rupture occurred in 124 women who tried the vaginal route, or less than 1 percent, and 12 cases of hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy were reported in their infants, with two deaths. None of the infants in the repeat C-section group were affected by this condition.
In conclusion researchers say though the magnitude of risk for serious complication is small, women who have had a previous cesarean section and who are considering choices for childbirth should be aware of the level of risk involved.