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Medical Negligence

Natural birth more dangerous after caesarean

Estimated read time: 3 mins

Carrie Tennick, September 25, 2019

A natural birth after having had a caesarean section during a previous birth is more dangerous for mothers and babies.

The findings, by Oxford University, reveal that women who have already had a caesarean are more at risk of complications – including stillbirth and sepsis – if they then have a natural birth.

Women more at risk

The researchers analysed data from 74,043 women who had already had a caesarean and were giving birth in Scotland between 2002 and 2015. Of those women, roughly 60% were scheduled to have another caesarean.

According to the researchers, the women who had natural births were found to be at higher risk of complications. They explained that these women were twice as likely to require a blood transfusion, as well as three times more likely to experience damage to their bowels or bladders. They are also seven times more likely to suffer uterine rupture, which can cause severe bleeding in women.

The babies of women having natural births were also found to do worse in heart, breathing and muscle tests after being born. They were also more likely to require resuscitation and neonatal care. There was also a higher chance of stillbirths among women who had natural births after caesareans.

It was also found that of the women who attempted a natural birth, 28.4% went on to have an emergency caesarean.

Overall risk still low

Overall risk during both forms of childbirth was low, however. Of the total number of births analysed for the study, 8% of women having natural births and 6.4% of those having casesareans suffered complications.

The researchers explained that women should not be afraid of having a natural birth if that is their preference.

They added that more research is needed to investigate the long-term impact of multiple casesareans and attempted natural births following a caesarean. According to the scientists, their study should be considered alongside guidelines from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists that state there is evidence that a caesarean is linked to a higher risk of complications having a negative effect on women’s health.

Women should be given choice

Dr Pat O'Brien, consultant obstetrician and spokesperson for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said: “Women can be assured that in most cases it is possible and safe to have a vaginal birth, or a planned repeat Caesarean birth, after a previous Caesarean birth.”

He went on to add: “A detailed conversation with a woman and her senior obstetrician should take place so she can make an informed choice about the safest way she can plan to give birth and be supported by a team of specialists.”

Experts in childbirth say that pregnant women should be given a choice of how to deliver whenever possible. However, the BBC has reported that women are often denied the choice of having a caesarean.

If you have suffered any form of childbirth-related medical negligence, you could make a claim for compensation. For a free discussion with First4Lawyers about your options – with no obligation – just give us a call, request a call back at the top of your screen or start your claim here.