Prior C-section delivery shouldn't limit mom's future options

Women who meet certain criteria can have a successful vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) delivery, but many don’t receive enough information to make that choice, says an obstetrician at UT Southwestern Medical Center. 

According to statistical reports, the rate of C-section deliveries has increased in the U.S. from just 5 percent in 1970 to nearly a third of all births in 2008.

About a third of American hospitals and half of physicians do not even offer VBAC as an option, in part due to fear of potential litigation, says Dr. F. Gary Cunningham, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at UT Southwestern who led a National Institutes of Health panel on the topic in 2010.

Since the panel’s findings were released in July 2010, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists revised its recommendations to encourage clinicians and hospitals to improve women’s access to in-hospital VBAC. 

 “The latest recommendations released are much more permissive,” Dr. Cunningham says. “Women should be aware that in many cases vaginal birth is an option to be considered.”

Visit http://www.utsouthwestern.org/obgyn to learn more about clinical services for obstetrics and gynecology at UT Southwestern.

April is Cesarean Awareness Month.

Media Contact: Robin Russell

Return to April 2011 News Tips

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