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Keywords:

  • mothers' perspective;
  • qualitative research;
  • risk;
  • vaginal birth after Caesarean (VBAC)

McGrath P, Phillips E, Vaughan G. International Journal of Nursing Practice 2010; 16: 274–281 Vaginal birth after Caesarean risk decision-making: Australian findings on the mothers' perspective

The purpose of this paper is to explore, from the mothers' perspective, the decision-making experience with regard to subsequent birth choice for women who had previously delivered by Caesarean section. A qualitative methodological approach was taken to the exploration of mothers' knowledge of the risks of vaginal birth after Caesarean (VBAC) or elective Caesarean following a prior birth by Caesarean section. This paper presents the insights provided by the four women who chose VBAC. The health professionals' attitude to birth, and thus the support they offer to mothers, is predominantly pro-Caesarean. In view of the declining numbers of VBACs and the fact that the clinical literature documents risks for both elective Caesarean and VBAC, it is important for health professionals to be very sensitive and balanced in the information and support offered for the VBAC birth option.