Women who have delivered a baby by cesarean section fare better when they have a planned repeat C-section – as do their newborns – than those who have a vaginal birth, a new study has found.
The findings, published in the journal Public Library of Science: Medicine, are based on an assessment of 2,345 deliveries by women who had had a prior C-section at 14 maternity hospitals in Australia.
The researchers, led by Caroline Crowther from the Australian Research Centre for Health of Women and Babies, compared the experiences of 1,108 women whose obstetricians scheduled a date for an elective C-section with those of 1,237 others who had a planned vaginal birth.
The researchers found that women who had repeat elective C-sections experienced less severe bleeding than those who gave birth vaginally. There was also a reduced risk of serious health problems for infants born by cesarean section.
They calculated that one infant death or serious health problem would be prevented for every 66 planned elective repeat C-sections.
"Women, clinicians, and policy makers can use this information to develop health advice to assist in making evidence-based decisions about care for women who have had a previous cesarean and their infants," the researchers concluded.