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SCIENCE FILE | Science in Brief

Vaginal Birth After Caesarean Slightly More Risky, Study Finds

September 05, 1996|From Times staff and wire reports

Mothers who have already had a Caesarean delivery face a small but higher-than-usual risk of major complications if they try to have another baby vaginally, according to a new study, but physicians still believe that vaginal birth is the better alternative. The new study, conducted on 6,138 women in Nova Scotia by Dr. Michael J. McMahon of the University of North Carolina, found that vaginal deliveries for women with previous Caesareans are indeed safe--but not quite as safe as another Caesarean.

McMahon and his colleagues report in the Sept. 5 New England Journal of Medicine that rare medical complications, mainly rupture of the uterus, and serious surgical mishaps, such as severed blood vessels or bowel lacerations, occur in about one of every 100 women who have a second Caesarean and in about two of every 100 who attempt a vaginal delivery after a Caesarean. No women died.

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