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A recent study has shown that a planned caesarean delivery may be safer for women that had previously had a caesarean delivery. The findings of the study may help to reduce the number of birth injury claims from those that have suffered injuries during labour.
The study of 74,000 births in Scotland found that 1.8% of women who had a planned vaginal delivery following a previous caesarean had serious health issues compared to 0.8% of women who had an elective repeat caesarean section. The damages included significant issues to the womb amongst others. Additionally, there were slightly higher rates of issues with babies born after a planned vaginal delivery compared with those born after an elective caesarean section. Health issues included requiring medicine, or equipment to help with breathing.
One of the most common health issues impacting mothers during a vaginal birth after a c-section is a rupture to the womb, however the study showed that this is a rare occurrence, with only 1 in 500 deliveries suffering from this. However, it does reinforce the need for careful monitoring to avoid a potential birth injury to mother claim.
The study highlights the need for women to be informed of the various risks associated with each type of birth, so that the best option for their individual circumstances can be chosen. This in turn should hopefully reduce the number of c-section claims from instances where a caesarean may not have been the most appropriate birthing choice, or where there may have been a delay in electing a caesarean and either mother or baby has suffered as a result.
Historically, women who had a caesarean delivery were often expected for all future deliveries to be by caesarean but in more recent years the NHS had tried to actively encourage women to consider a vaginal birth. The study hopefully provides further understanding for women and medical professionals to assist with their birthing plans and help decrease the amount of birth injury compensation as a result.
It is hoped that the findings of the study can be used to empower women and medical professionals to have open conversations regarding their birthing plans and to choose the most appropriate method for their individual circumstances.