Vaginal Birth After Cesarean: Views of Women From Countries With High VBAC Rates

Qual Health Res. 2017 Feb;27(3):325-340. doi: 10.1177/1049732315612041. Epub 2016 Jul 10.


Despite the consequences for women's health, a repeat cesarean section (CS) birth after a previous CS is common in Western countries. Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC) is recommended for most women, yet VBAC rates are decreasing and vary across maternity organizations and countries. We investigated women's views on factors of importance for improving the rate of VBAC in countries where VBAC rates are high. We interviewed 22 women who had experienced VBAC in Finland, the Netherlands, and Sweden. We used content analysis, which revealed five categories: receiving information from supportive clinicians, receiving professional support from a calm and confident midwife/obstetrician during childbirth, knowing the advantages of VBAC, letting go of the previous childbirth in preparation for the new birth, and viewing VBAC as the first alternative for all involved when no complications are present. These findings reflect not only women's needs but also sociocultural factors influencing their views on VBAC.

Keywords: Europe; VBAC; Vaginal Birth After Cesarean; childbirth; content analysis; focus groups; health care, culture of; interviews; midwifery; nursing, maternity; qualitative; relationships.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Cesarean Section, Repeat / psychology*
  • Decision Making*
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Midwifery
  • Netherlands
  • Qualitative Research
  • Scandinavian and Nordic Countries
  • Vaginal Birth after Cesarean / psychology*