Strategies to increase the rate of vaginal deliveries after cesarean without negative impact on outcomes

Midwifery. 2022 Mar:106:103247. doi: 10.1016/j.midw.2021.103247. Epub 2022 Jan 6.


Objective: To compare the rate of vaginal birth after cesarean section (VBAC), including the maternal and perinatal outcomes, in two historical cohorts before and after the implementation of specific changes in the clinical practice.

Design: A retrospective cohort study.

Setting: Skåne University Hospital in Malmö, Sweden.

Participants: including all women with one previous cesarean section (CS), who delivered during two 4-year periods: 2005-2008 (Group I) and 2013-2016 (Group II).

Methods: Medical records were retrieved from the hospital's computerized medical system. The surgical reports of all women delivered by repeat CS were reviewed and the appearance of the lower uterine segment at CS was assessed. The primary outcome was VBAC. Secondary maternal outcomes were uterine rupture/dehiscence, hysterectomy and blood loss. The secondary perinatal outcomes were cord blood pH < 7.05 and perinatal mortality rate. Differences for categorical data were studied using the chi-square test and Fisher's exact test. To assess differences for continuous data t-tests were used. To determine which factors predicted VBAC both univariate and multivariate logistic regression analysis with the likelihood ratio test were performed. A two-tailed P-value < 0.05 was considered statistically significant FINDINGS: 2017 patients were included to the study: 792 patients in Group I and 1225 in Group II. The rate of trial of labor after cesarean (TOLAC) was 65.0% and 76.9% and the VBAC rate was 49.8% and 62.0% in Group I and II respectively (p < 0.0001). Maternal and perinatal adverse outcomes were not statistically different between the two groups.

Key conclusions and implications for practice: Appropriate management of women with one previous CS might increase the VBAC rate without a negative impact on maternal or perinatal outcomes. The antenatal teamwork has the greatest contribution to VBAC rate by increasing the number of women undergoing TOLAC.

Keywords: Cesarean section; Trial of labor after cesarean; Uterine rupture; Vaginal birth after cesarean.

MeSH terms

  • Cesarean Section*
  • Cesarean Section, Repeat
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Trial of Labor
  • Vaginal Birth after Cesarean*