Report: Rates of Vaginal Births After C-Sections Vary Widely Across Calif.
The rates of women who have vaginal births after previously having had a caesarean section vary across California, but rates are highest in the San Francisco Bay Area, according to data released by the California HealthCare Foundation, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. CHCF publishes California Healthline.
The report was compiled with hospital data from 2005 to 2009 that were reported to the state. Data are based on patients' city of residence rather than the medical center where treatment was administered.
Details of Procedure
While generally safe, vaginal births after a c-section -- or VBACs -- could cause a uterine rupture during labor that could be fatal.
Generally, hospitals in urban areas are more likely to have a medical team that includes an anesthesiologist and obstetrician to help in the event of a uterine rupture.
In some cases, a woman might not be able to have a VBAC because of the type of incision used in the previous c-section or other factors.
Highest, Lowest VBAC Rates
The study found that women in Berkeley and Greenbrae had the highest rates of VBACs in California at near or above three times the state average. Rates in San Francisco and Vallejo were about two and a half times the state average.
Meanwhile, women living in El Centro Imperial County had VBACs at a rate that was less than one-tenth the state average.
Physicians Weigh In
Physicians said high VBAC rates typically are found in areas where women want the option to go through labor and have the support of hospital staff to do so.
James Anderson -- a physician from Redwood Women's Center who is trained in offering VBACs -- said physicians should take the time to explain the benefits and risks of the procedure (Colliver, San Francisco Chronicle, 9/15).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.