Vaginal birth after caesarean

Sangeetha Devarajan, Vikram Sinai Talaulikar, Sabaratnam Arulkumaran

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Caesarean section (CS) rates continue to evoke worldwide concern because of their steady increase. The national caesarean section (CS) rate in the UK is almost 25%, having increased by 5.7% in the last 10 years. A rising primary CS rate is a significant contributor to this trend. The latest available data show that almost 1 in 5 women in the world now give birth by CS. The World Health Organisation states that, when medically justified, a caesarean section can effectively prevent maternal and perinatal mortality and morbidity. However, there is no evidence showing the benefits of caesarean delivery for women or infants who do not require the procedure. As with any surgery, caesarean sections are associated with short and long-term risk which can extend many years beyond the current delivery and affect the health of the woman, her child, and future pregnancies. These risks are higher in women with limited access to comprehensive obstetric care. There are two standard care pathways for women having childbirth following previous CS – Vaginal Birth After Caesarean (VBAC) or Elective Repeat CS (ERCS). Attempting a VBAC is a safe and appropriate choice that must be offered to most women who have had a prior caesarean delivery. Approximately 70–75% of women who attempt VBAC will have a successful vaginal delivery. Focused antenatal counselling sessions highlighting the risks and benefits of VBAC vs ERCS may impact upon the pathway a woman chooses. Continued counselling and discussion of relative risks versus benefits will also encourage patient choice and help support the woman throughout antenatal and intrapartum periods.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)110-115
Number of pages6
JournalObstetrics, Gynaecology and Reproductive Medicine
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2018


  • after
  • birth
  • caesarean
  • delivery
  • elective
  • vaginal
  • VBAC


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