Title

Vaginal Birth After Caesarean Section in Low Resource Settings: The Clinical and Ethical Dilemma

Document Type

Article

Department

Obstetrics and Gynaecology (East Africa)

Abstract

Vaginal birth after Caesarean section (VBAC) has long been practised in low resource settings using unconventional methods. This not only poses danger to the woman and her baby, but could also have serious legal and ethical implications. The adoption of this practice has been informed by observational studies with many deficiencies; this is so despite other studies from settings in which the standard of care is much better that show that elective repeat Caesarean section (ERCS) may actually be safer than VBAC. This raises questions about whether we should insist on a dangerous practice when there are safer alternatives. We highlight some of the challenges faced in making this decision, and discuss why the fear of ERCS may not be justified after all in low resource settings. Since a reduction in rates of Caesarean section may not be applicable in these regions, because their rates are already low, the emphasis should instead be on adequate birth spacing and safer primary operative delivery.

Publication

Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada