A description of the management and outcomes of vaginal birth after cesarean birth in the homebirth setting

J Midwifery Womens Health. 2005 Sep-Oct;50(5):386-91. doi: 10.1016/j.jmwh.2005.02.012.


Our objective was to describe the outcomes of intended home birth among 57 women with a previous cesarean birth. Data were drawn from a larger prospective study of intended homebirth in nurse-midwifery practice. Available data included demographics, perinatal risk information, and outcomes of prenatal, intrapartum, postpartum, and neonatal care. The hospital course was reviewed for those transferred to the hospital setting. Fifty-three of 57 women (93%) had a spontaneous vaginal birth, 1 had a vacuum-assisted birth, and 3 (5.3%) had a repeat cesarean birth. Thirty-one of 32 (97%) women who had a previous vaginal birth after cesarean birth (VBAC) had a successful VBAC; 22 of 25 (88%) women without a history of VBAC successfully delivered vaginally. Fifty (87.7%) of these women delivered in the home setting, whereas 7 (12.3%) delivered in the hospital setting. None of the women experienced uterine rupture or dehiscence. One infant was stillborn. This event was attributed to a postdates pregnancy with meconium. Certified nurse-midwives with homebirth practices must be knowledgeable about the risks for mother and baby, screen clientele appropriately, and be able to counsel patients with regard to potential adverse outcomes. Given what is presently known, VBAC is not recommended in the homebirth setting. It is imperative in the light of current evidence and practice climate to advocate for the availability of certified nurse-midwife services and woman-centered care in the hospital setting.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Home Childbirth / nursing*
  • Home Childbirth / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Midwifery / methods*
  • Midwifery / statistics & numerical data*
  • Obstetric Labor Complications / epidemiology
  • Obstetric Labor Complications / nursing
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care
  • Postnatal Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Prenatal Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Transportation of Patients / statistics & numerical data
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Vaginal Birth after Cesarean / nursing*
  • Vaginal Birth after Cesarean / statistics & numerical data*