Planned Home VBAC in the United States, 2004–2009: Outcomes, Maternity Care Practices, and Implications for Shared Decision Making

Authors

  • Kim J. Cox PhD, CNM,

    Assistant Professor, Corresponding author
    1. College of Nursing, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, USA
    • Address correspondence to Kim J. Cox, PhD, CNM, College of Nursing, University of New Mexico, 1 University of New Mexico, MSC 09 5350, Albuquerque, NM 87131-0000, USA.

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  • Marit L. Bovbjerg PhD,

    Research Associate & Instructor of Epidemiology
    1. College of Public Health and Human Sciences, Oregon State University, Corvallis, USA
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  • Melissa Cheyney PhD, CPM, LDM,

    Associate Professor
    1. Department of Anthropology, Oregon State University, Corvallis, USA
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  • Lawrence M. Leeman MD, MPH

    Professor
    1. School of Medicine, Departments of Family & Community Medicine and Obstetrics & Gynecology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA
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Abstract

Background

In the United States, the number of planned home vaginal births after cesarean (VBACs) has increased. This study describes the maternal and neonatal outcomes for women who planned a VBAC at home with midwives who were contributing data to the Midwives Alliance of North America Statistics Project 2.0 cohort during the years 2004–2009.

Method

Two subsamples were created from the parent cohort: 12,092 multiparous women without a prior cesarean and 1,052 women with a prior cesarean. Descriptive statistics were calculated for maternal and neonatal outcomes for both groups. Sensitivity analyses comparing women with a prior vaginal birth and those who were at the lowest risk with various subgroups in the parent cohort were also conducted.

Results

Women with a prior cesarean had a VBAC rate of 87 percent, although transfer rates were higher compared with women without a prior cesarean (18% vs 7%, p < 0.001). The most common indication for transfer was failure to progress. Women with a prior cesarean had higher proportions of blood loss, maternal postpartum infections, uterine rupture, and neonatal intensive care unit admissions than those without a prior cesarean. Five neonatal deaths (4.75/1,000) occurred in the prior cesarean group compared with 1.24/1,000 in multiparas without a history of cesarean (p = 0.015).

Conclusion

Although there is a high likelihood of a vaginal birth at home, women planning a home VBAC should be counseled regarding maternal transfer rates and potential for increased risk to the newborn, particularly if uterine rupture occurs in the home setting.

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