Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine if the success and safety of vaginal birth after cesarean delivery in a small, isolated, rural hospital compare with those seen in larger centers.
Study design: As part of a continuing study, the prenatal and hospital records of all patients with previous cesarean delivered by the Rural Health Group between October 1988 and January 1991 were reviewed. Patients were allowed a trial of labor with one or more previous cesarean sections, unknown scar, and breech presentation but not for other malpresentation or a vertical scar.
Results: A total of 67 patients were studied; 76.1% of these had a trial of labor, and 60.8% of them were delivered vaginally, whereas 39.2% underwent repeat cesarean delivery. Of the 67 patients 11.9% were not candidates for vaginal birth after cesarean delivery, and the same percentage refused. Forty-nine percent received oxytocin; of these, 56% were delivered vaginally. Overall, maternal complications were similar between the groups. Two uterine ruptures occurred; neither was associated with labor. The major maternal complications occurred in the vaginal birth after cesarean delivery group, but all were associated with antepartum conditions and not related to labor and delivery. There were no maternal deaths. The only neonatal death resulted from a congenital anomaly.
Conclusion: We concluded that vaginal birth after cesarean delivery can be performed safely in an isolated small community hospital with success rates similar to those of larger centers and with no increased maternal or neonatal morbidity or mortality.