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Thursday, July 22, 2010 - 9:40am

Vaginal Birth OK For Most Women After Cesarean

Updated: 7 years ago.

Listen up. The leading group of obstetricians in this country now says it's quite all right for most women who've given birth by cesarean section to try a vaginal birth the next time around.

Guidelines just put out by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists say a vaginal birth after cesarean, or VBAC, is the most appropriate and safe choice for the majority of women.

Because the new advice carries the ACOG imprimatur, it may give a boost to efforts to reduce the rates of repeat C-sections. Right now, only about 10 percent of women who have cesarean deliveries try a subsequent vaginal delivery. Fear of complications -- and lawsuits -- are big factors.

The ACOG guidelines follow recommendations by a panel of experts convened by the National Institutes of Health in March in support of more vaginal births.

But recommendations from ACOG and a leading group of anesthesiologists that say women shouldn't try a VBAC without the availability of emergency care if something bad happens have been blamed, in part, for the rise in C-sections.

As the Wall Street Journal's Health Blog points out, ACOG still favors women trying a vaginal birth only when the emergency staff is at the ready. But if that's not the case, ACOG says women who want to should be allowed to take the risk. [Copyright 2010 National Public Radio]