Natural birth is safe for 90% of women who have previously had a caesarean, new research suggests

  • Nine in ten women who had C-section can give birth naturally, study suggests
  • Up to half of women having C-sections do so due to having had one in the past
  • Many women are concerned of tearing their scar and rupturing the womb
  • Almost three in ten women who give birth in the UK have a caesarean section 

A natural birth may be possible for nine in ten women who have previously had a caesarean, research suggests.

Many mothers-to-be are concerned about giving birth following a C-section due to the risk of tearing the scar, which can rupture the womb.

But a study of 471 women who opted for a natural delivery after a caesarean found around 91 per cent were able to achieve it.

The latest study, looking at 735 women who made the choice of how to give birth, found almost two-thirds decided to have a natural delivery [File photo]

The latest study, looking at 735 women who made the choice of how to give birth, found almost two-thirds decided to have a natural delivery [File photo] 

Just three women suffered a rupture to the womb, which can cause severe bleeding.

Dr Kaname Uno, first author of the study from Toyota Memorial Hospital in Japan, said: ‘The results suggest that health professionals should be encouraged to have ongoing discussions with expectant mothers about the risks and benefits associated with each mode of delivery, which will allow them to make their own informed choices.’

Almost three in ten women who give birth in the UK have a caesarean.

When they become pregnant again, this means a discussion with the midwife to decide whether to have another C-section, which can lead to bleeding, infection and blood clots.

Many mothers-to-be are concerned about giving birth following a C-section due to the risk of tearing the scar, which can rupture the womb [File photo]

Many mothers-to-be are concerned about giving birth following a C-section due to the risk of tearing the scar, which can rupture the womb [File photo]

Instead they can opt for a natural birth – but this may cause the womb to tear and rupture, which in a small number of cases leads to the death of a baby.

The latest study, looking at 735 women who made the choice of how to give birth, found almost two-thirds decided to have a natural delivery.

This worked out as 471 women, all of whom previously had one or two caesareans.

The results showed that 430 managed to have a successful vaginal delivery.

The 41 who could not had a problem in labour, an issue with the baby or took too long to go into labour.

The study, published in the journal BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, is important because up to half of women who have C-sections are believed to do so due to having had one in the past.

The study, published in the journal BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, is important because up to half of women who have C-sections are believed to do so due to having had one in the past  [File photo]

The study, published in the journal BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, is important because up to half of women who have C-sections are believed to do so due to having had one in the past  [File photo]

Dr Uno said: ‘A potential risk for vaginal birth after previous caesarean is uterine rupture, which can occur along healed incisions from previous caesarean deliveries.

‘However, caesarean births themselves carry a risk of bleeding, infection and other complications.’

Commenting on the findings, Andrew Shennan, professor of obstetrics at King’s College London, said: ‘In the UK, we would expect about 70 per cent of women to be able to have a vaginal delivery safely after a caesarean.

‘But people are often still nervous, which can be because of things which went wrong when they needed an emergency caesarean previously.

‘It is important to realise it is always better to avoid a caesarean where possible, because of the risks of surgery such as blood clots, infection and bleeding.’

A study of more than 74,000 births by Oxford University, published last year, found women trying to give birth following a C-section were seven times more likely to suffer a ruptured womb and had a slightly increased risk of sepsis.

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