Repeat c-sections are pretty much the medical standard nowadays, with a natural birth following a caesarean considered a risky choice by some — a c-section in and of itself is generally considered reason enough to perform the procedure for all subsequent births.
Ultimately, for years the mainstream opinion has been that c-sections following a c-section is the safest choice, but a new, small study indicates that many women are not fully informed when making a decision about how to handle subsequent labors and deliveries.
Dr. Sarah N. Bernstein led the study, which was published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology. Bernstein worked out of St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center in New York at the time she did the research, but is now at Magee-Womens Hospital in Pittsburgh.
Bernstein hints at the sensitive nature of the issue — among mothers, c-sections versus natural births are a hot topic of debate, and of course, a platform for judgement in many cases — and she explains that the research did not aim to cast one option as better or worse than the other, explaining they are “both safe options.”
The study gathered data from 155 women who had previously undergone c-sections, and all were “candidates for a trial of labor.” The participating women were presented with multiple-choice questions on c-section versus VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean) rates.
According to Reuters Health, 87 of the 155 had chosen a VBAC after their c-section, leaving 68 who had selected a repeat c-section. 73% of all the women were unable to successfully choose a success rate and did not even make a selection as to what it may be, and only 4% correctly chose the 60-80% success rate for VBACs. An overwhelming 60% of those polled did not know that a c-section carries a longer term of recovery than a vaginal birth.
Bernstein advises women to discuss the options with their doctor rather than looking online for information or discussing the procedures with friends.