Randomized controlled trial of a prenatal vaginal birth after cesarean section education and support program. Childbirth Alternatives Post-Cesarean Study Group

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1997 Feb;176(2):419-25. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9378(97)70509-x.


Objective: Our objective was to assess whether, for women with previous cesarean section, a prenatal education and support program promoting vaginal birth after cesarean delivery increases the probability of vaginal delivery.

Study design: Women with a single previous cesarean were recruited before 28 weeks' gestation. Women's self-assessed motivation to attempt vaginal birth after a previous cesarean delivery was measured on a 10 cm visual analog scale: stratum I, low motivation; stratum II, high motivation. Women were randomized by stratum to one of two groups. Those in the "Verbal" group participated in an individualized education program. Those in the "Document" group were provided with a pamphlet detailing the benefits of planned vaginal birth after cesarean delivery.

Results: Rates of vaginal birth after cesarean section were similar in the verbal and document groups: verbal, 339 of 641 (53%); document, 310 of 634 (49%); relative risk 1.1, 95% confidence interval 1.0 to 1.2. There was no evidence of heterogeneity across motivational strata. Regardless of treatment group, women with low motivation for vaginal birth after cesarean section were more than three times as likely to undergo elective repeat cesarean than were women with high motivation (47% vs 13%).

Conclusions: There was no evidence that an individualized prenatal education and support program, when offered to all women with previous cesarean delivery, results in a clinically significant increase in the rate of vaginal birth after cesarean section.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cesarean Section / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Likelihood Functions
  • Motivation*
  • Patient Education as Topic*
  • Pregnancy
  • Vaginal Birth after Cesarean / psychology
  • Vaginal Birth after Cesarean / statistics & numerical data*