NCT response to NPEU study examining the incidence of womb rupture

Released on: 14 March 2012

The National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit (NPEU) at Oxford University yesterday released a study examining the incidence of womb rupture. The study showed that the risk of womb rupture was very low, and smaller than previously thought. However, it was more common in women having a vaginal birth after caesarean, compared with those having a repeat caesarean.

Mary Newburn, Head of Research and Information at NCT, the UK's largest charity for parents, said: 

“Decisions about how women plan for birth after a previous caesarean should be informed by evidence-based information on the potential risks and benefits of the different options available. Women should have the opportunity to discuss a planned vaginal birth or a planned caesarean, and consider what is right for them. 

“In addition to a small risk of breakdown of scar tissue, evidence shows there are benefits of a vaginal birth. These include less postnatal pain, faster recovery after birth and less likelihood of mothers being separated from their babies after birth as babies often go into the nursery for a period of observation following a caesarean.

“Many women who have previously had a caesarean want to give birth vaginally with a subsequent baby, and a vaginal birth after a caesarean (VBAC) is achievable for the majority who want it.”