VBACs May Be Easier to Achieve Than We Think, Study Says
byKaitlin StanfordNov 26, 2013
Photograph by Getty Images/Wavebreak Media
If you're like most women, you probably assume that following up a C-section with a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesaren) is a pretty rare feat. After all, that's what all the stories have led us to believe.
But, according to a new British study, it's not really that hard to come by. In fact, during the study, two-thirds of women who attempted a VBAC were perfectly successful.
The study, which was published in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, was conducted by the Office for Research and Clinical Audit (ORCA) at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. Its main purpose? To investigate just what factors are at play when it comes to the success rate of VBACs.
Researchers pulled data from 143,970 British women, all of whom had their first babies by C-section between 2004 and 2011. Just over half (52 percent) attempted a vaginal birth after cesarean the second time around, and of those women, 63 percent had a successful vaginal delivery. Interestingly, they also found that women who skewed younger (age 24 or under) were more likely to go for the VBAC than those over 34, and be more successful. Plus, while black and Asian women tried for a natural delivery more than white women, black women in particular had a significantly lower success rate.
"This [disparity] could point to different patient preferences or a lack of access to elective repeat caesarean section for non-white women," says study researcher Hannah Knight.
"Interestingly," she continued, "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."
While the study was conducted out of London and not the U.S., it's certainly still eye-opening for experts Stateside, where the C-section rate is still incredibly high, despite finally leveling out in the last year or so.