OBJECTIVE: To assess possible effects of a cesarean delivery on outcome in subsequent pregnancies. METHODS: Using an historical cohort design, we analyzed 637,497 first and second births among women with two or more single births and 242,812 first, second, and third births among women with three or more single births registered in the population-based Medical Birth Registry of Norway between 1967 and 2003. RESULTS: Compared with a vaginal delivery at first birth, a cesarean delivery at first birth was followed, in a second pregnancy, by increased risks of preeclampsia (odds ratio [OR] 2.9 and corresponding 95% confidence interval [CI] 2.8-3.1), small for gestational age (OR 1.5; CI 1.4-1.5), placenta previa (OR 1.5; CI 1.3-1.8, placenta accreta (OR 1.9; CI 1.3-2.8), placental abruption (OR 2.0; CI 1.8-2.2), and uterine rupture (OR 37.4; CI 24.9-56.2). After excluding women with the actual complication at first birth, the corresponding ORs were, in general, lower: 1.7 (CI 1.6-1.8), 1.3 (CI 1.3-1.4), 1.4 (CI 1.2-1.7), 1.9 (CI 1.3-2.8), 1.7 (CI 1.6-1.9), and 37.2 (CI 24.7-55.9), respectively. Corresponding reduction in numbers of cesarean deliveries needed to prevent one case were 114, 56, 1,140, 3,706, 300, and 461. In third births, ORs after repeat cesarean delivery were similar to or lower than the ORs after one cesarean delivery; also here, the exclusion of women with the actual outcome in any of their previous pregnancies tended to reduce the ORs. CONCLUSION: Cesarean delivery was associated with an increased risk of complications in a subsequent pregnancy, but excess risks were reduced after excluding women with the actual complication in any of their previous births. To obtain less biased effects of cesarean delivery on subsequent pregnancies, it is important to account for obstetric history. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: II.
OBJECTIVE: We compared trends and current levels of cesarean section delivery by indication in four countries to help us understand factors underlying national differences in obstetric delivery practice and identify pathways to lower cesarean rates. STUDY DESIGN: We carried out a measurement of change in the use of cesarean delivery by indication in Norway, Scotland, Sweden, and the United States during intervals centered on 1980, 1985, and 1990. Indication for cesarean delivery was determined by a standard set of selection rules. RESULTS: The rate of growth of national cesarean section rates dropped significantly between the time periods 1980 to 1985 and 1985 to 1990 in all four countries; in Sweden this led to an actual decline in the cesarean section rate. Fetal distress and previous cesarean section were important contributors to cesarean section growth in three of the countries in 1980 to 1985, but their contribution to growth dropped off sharply in 1985 to 1990. By the 1990 interval, the overall rate ranged from 24% (United States) to 11% (Sweden), and all four countries had similar cesarean section rates for breech presentation, fetal distress, and "other" indications. Cesarean section deliveries for previous cesarean section and dystocia accounted for the substantially higher U.S. cesarean section rate. CONCLUSIONS: Cesarean section rates are approaching stability in the four countries and have declined in Sweden. Previous cesarean delivery and dystocia may be the major sources of future reductions in the U.S. cesarean rate. The Swedish example shows that it is possible to reduce a relatively low national cesarean section rate.
OBJECTIVE. Based on a comparison of the clinical indications for cesarean section (CS) in two Danish counties and a review of the literature regarding this issue the aim of this study was to discuss possible explanations for variations in CS rates in twin pregnancies. The comparison of indications for CS in twin pregnancies was made between two Danish counties, one with a high and one with a low overall CS rate in twin deliveries, taking into account the distribution of parity, mother's age, gestational age at birth, and birth weight. DESIGN. A population based, historic follow-up study based on antecedent data. SETTING. Two Danish counties, with a CS rate in twin pregnancies of 57% and 28%, respectively. SUBJECTS. All women with twin pregnancies who delivered in 1989 in the two counties. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES. Comparison of the CS rates in the two counties according to indications and fetal presentation. SECONDARY MEASURES. Perinatal and maternal outcome. RESULTS. The difference in CS rates between the two counties could not be explained by different distributions of background characteristics. Different attitudes were found towards CS in cases with previous CS, with twin A in breech presentation and in cases with vertex-breech deliveries. These differences could explain less than two thirds of the overall 29% (CI: 12-46%) difference in risk of CS between the two counties, indicating more subtle reasons for the discrepancy. No difference between the two counties in perinatal morbidity and mortality was seen. CONCLUSION. In order to understand and discuss regional variations in the use of CSs in twin deliveries the subjects must be addressed in different ways: the unequivocal indications related to fetal presentations and previous CS can be subjected to randomised controlled trials or large scaled follow-up studies regarding maternal and perinatal morbidity and mortality. Other more subtle determinants of the physicians' and the pregnant women's attitude towards CS, however, seem quantitatively important, and these can only be evaluated in observational studies and through discussions.
The most common reason for caesarean section (CS) is repeat CS following previous CS. Vaginal birth after caesarean section (VBAC) rates vary widely in different healthcare settings and countries. Obtaining deeper knowledge of clinicians' views on VBAC can help in understanding the factors of importance for increasing VBAC rates. Interview studies with clinicians and women in three countries with high VBAC rates (Finland, Sweden and the Netherlands) and three countries with low VBAC rates (Ireland, Italy and Germany) are part of 'OptiBIRTH', an ongoing research project. The study reported here is based on interviews in high VBAC countries. The aim of the study was to investigate the views of clinicians working in countries with high VBAC rates on factors of importance for improving VBAC rates.
Individual (face-to-face or telephone) interviews and focus group interviews with clinicians (in different maternity care settings) in three countries with high VBAC rates were conducted during 2012-2013. In total, 44 clinicians participated: 26 midwives and 18 obstetricians. Five central questions about VBAC were used and interviews were analysed using content analysis. The analysis was performed in each country in the native language and then translated into English. All data were then analysed together and final categories were validated in each country.
The findings are presented in four main categories with subcategories. First, a common approach is needed, including: feeling confident with VBAC, considering VBAC as the first alternative, communicating well, working in a team, working in accordance with a model and making agreements with the woman. Second, obstetricians need to make the final decision on the mode of delivery while involving women in counselling towards VBAC. Third, a woman who has a previous CS has a similar need for support as other labouring women, but with some extra precautions and additional recommendations for her care. Finally, clinicians should help strengthen women's trust in VBAC, including building their trust in giving birth vaginally, recognising that giving birth naturally is an empowering experience for women, alleviating fear and offering extra visits to discuss the previous CS, and joining with the woman in a dialogue while leaving the decision about the mode of birth open.
This study shows that, according to midwives and obstetricians from countries with high VBAC rates, the important factors for improving the VBAC rate are related to the structure of the maternity care system in the country, to the cooperation between midwives and obstetricians, and to the care offered during pregnancy and birth. More research on clinicians' perspectives is needed from countries with low, as well as high, VBAC rates.
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Caesarean section (CS) rates are increasing worldwide and the most common reason is repeat CS following previous CS. For most women a vaginal birth after a previous CS (VBAC) is a safe option. However, the rate of VBAC differs in an international perspective. Obtaining deeper knowledge of clinicians' views on VBAC can help in understanding the factors of importance for increasing VBAC rates. Focus group interviews with clinicians and women in three countries with high VBAC rates (Finland, Sweden and the Netherlands) and three countries with low VBAC rates (Ireland, Italy and Germany) are part of "OptiBIRTH", an ongoing research project. The study reported here aims to explore the views of clinicians from countries with low VBAC rates on factors of importance for improving VBAC rates.
Focus group interviews were held in Ireland, Italy and Germany. In total 71 clinicians participated in nine focus group interviews. Five central questions about VBAC were used and interviews were analysed using content analysis. The analysis was performed in each country in the native language and then translated into English. All data were then analysed together and final categories were validated in each country.
The findings are presented in four main categories with several sub-categories: 1) "prameters for VBAC", including the importance of the obstetric history, present obstetric factors, a positive attitude among those who are centrally involved, early follow-up after CS and antenatal classes; 2) "organisational support and resources for women undergoing a VBAC", meaning a successful VBAC requires clinical expertise and resources during labour; 3) "fear as a key inhibitor of successful VBAC", including understanding women's fear of childbirth, clinicians' fear of VBAC and the ways that clinicians' fear can be transferred to women; and 4) "shared decision making - rapport, knowledge and confidence", meaning ensuring consistent, realistic and unbiased information and developing trust within the clinician-woman relationship.
The findings indicate that increasing the VBAC rate depends on organisational factors, the care offered during pregnancy and childbirth, the decision-making process and the strategies employed to reduce fear in all involved.
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Since the mid-1980s, cesarean section rates in Canada have declined. By 1993, 18 of every 100 deliveries were by cesarean section, compared with close to 20 per 100 in 1987. As well, in 1993, 9 of every 100 deliveries were primary cesareans, down from a high of almost 11 per 100 in the mid-1980s. And the repeat cesarean section rate fell from 39 per 100 cesareans in the mid-1980s to 34 in 1993. A major factor in the downtum of cesarean section rates has been a steady increase in vaginal births after cesarean section (VBACs). From 1979 to 1993, the rate rose more than tenfold from 3 to 33 per 100 women who previously had a cesarean section. This trend toward VBAC deliveries was apparent among women in all age groups. Within Canada, there are large provincial differences in cesarean section and VBAC rates. In 1993, cesarean rates ranged from 15 per 100 deliveries in Manitoba to 22 in New Brunswick. VBAC rates ranged from 16 per 100 previous cesarean sections in New Brunswick and Newfoundland to 42 in Alberta. This article traces trends in cesarean section and VBAC rates in Canada and the provinces from 1979 to 1993. The data are based on individual patient admission/separation records of general and allied hospitals, that are submitted to Statistics Canada.
OBJECTIVE: Our purpose was to study the impact of labor onset and delivery mode on the risk of severe postpartum hemorrhage. STUDY DESIGN: This was a population-based study of 307,415 mothers who were registered in the Medical Birth Registry of Norway from 1999-2004. RESULTS: Severe postpartum hemorrhage occurred in 1.1% of all mothers and in 2.1% of those mothers with previous cesarean section delivery (CS). Compared with spontaneous labor, hemorrhage risk was higher for induction (odds ratio [OR], 1.71; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.56-1.88) and prelabor CS (OR, 2.05; 95% CI, 1.84-2.29). The risk was 55% higher for emergency CS and half that for vaginal deliveries (OR, 0.48; 95% CI, 0.43-0.53), compared with prelabor CS. The highest risk was for emergency CS after induction in mothers with previous CS (OR, 6.57; 95% CI, 4.25-10.13), compared with spontaneous vaginal delivery in mothers with no previous CS. CONCLUSION: Induction and prelabor CS should be practiced with caution because of the increased risk of severe postpartum hemorrhage.
Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Faculty of Medicine, Centre de recherche du Centre Hospitalier universitaire de Québec (CRCHUQ), Université Laval, Quebec, QC, Canada. firstname.lastname@example.org
The objective was to compare national guidelines regarding vaginal birth after cesarean. Along with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists practice bulletin, guidelines from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada were reviewed and compared. Although the 3 organizations agree on most of the risk factors for uterine rupture and failed vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC), there were some variances in the recommendations to women with 2 previous cesareans and those who required oxytocin augmentation. A disagreement was also present in regard to the availability and requirement of resources to allow a trial of labor after a previous cesarean. Although concerns could be raised about how the literature is synthesized, the 3 organizations recognized the potential biases in published reports and the lack of randomized trials.
Canada's cesarean section rate reached an all-time high of 22.5 percent of in-hospital deliveries in 2002 and was associated with potential maternal and neonatal complications. Clinical practice guidelines represent an appropriate mean for reducing cesarean section rates. The challenge now lies in implementing these guidelines. Objectives of this meta-analysis were to assess the effectiveness of interventions for reducing the cesarean section rate and to assess the impact of this reduction on maternal and perinatal mortality and morbidity.
The Cochrane Library, EMBASE, and MEDLINE were consulted from January 1990 to June 2005. Additional studies were identified by screening reference lists from identified studies and expert suggestions. Studies involving rigorous evaluation of a strategy for reducing overall cesarean section rates were identified. Randomized controlled trials, controlled before-and-after studies, and interrupted time series studies were evaluated according to Effective Practice and Organisation of Care Group criteria.
Among the 10 included studies, a significant reduction of cesarean section rate was found by random meta-analysis (pooled RR = 0.81 [0.75, 0.87]). No evidence of publication bias was identified. Audit and feedback (pooled RR = 0.87 [0.81, 0.93]), quality improvement (pooled RR = 0.74 [0.70, 0.77]), and multifaceted strategies (pooled RR=0.73 [0.68, 0.79]) were effective for reducing the cesarean section rate. However, quality improvement based on active management of labor showed mixed effects. Design of studies showed a higher effect for noncontrolled studies than for controlled studies (pooled RR = 0.76 [0.72, 0.81] vs 0.92 [0.88, 0.96]). Studies including an identification of barriers to change were more effective than other interventions for reducing the cesarean section rate (pooled RR = 0.74 [0.71, 0.78] vs 0.88 [0.82, 0.94]). Among included studies, no significant differences were found for perinatal and neonatal mortality and perinatal and maternal morbidity with respect to the mode of delivery. Only 1 study showed a significant reduction of neonatal and perinatal mortality (p