Again, I’m going to preface this by saying that I have never had a c-section, so I have no idea of the mental games that having one plays on you. My main aim in posting this is to encourage and help women develop their faith in their God-given bodies. You aren’t broken! You are an amazing woman, and I have every faith that you can have the birth you want next time. After this fabulous article, I have included some research I have done regarding VBACs, and their risk factors compared to other birth complications. I hope you find it useful and / or interesting. UPDATE: I’ve updated my references to make it easier to check my facts. I will be updating the graph soon too. Thanks 🙂
Relative Risks of Uterine Rupture
Written by Eileen Sullivan, with assistance from her husband, Patrick.
After checking, it seems I was a bit off on the frequency of deadly lightning strikes… you are more likely to suffer a rupture than to be struck and killed by lightning, by about thirty times. Then again, how many people do you know who HAVE been struck and killed by lightning? <s>
Ruptures are also more common than dying in a plane crash. Henci Goer’s review of the literature on VBACs found 46 ruptures in 15,154 labors. This equates to a 0.3% rate… or 1 in 333, if you prefer. Your annual risk of dying in a plane crash is 1 in 4000, according to one source, and 1 in 700,000 according to another. I can’t explain the massive discrepancy between the two figures, except to quote Mark Twain about “lies, damn lies, and statistics.”
Since you asked, here are some more probability statistics for you:
Your risk of dying in a car accident, over the course of your lifetime, is between 1 in 42 and 1 in 75. This is roughly 4 to 5 times greater than the risk of uterine rupture.
You’re about twice as likely to have your car stolen (that’s an annual risk) than to experience a uterine rupture.
Your odds of being murdered are 1 in 140 over the course of your lifetime. That’s 2 times more likely than the risk of rupture.
The annual risk of having a heart attack is 1 in 160, 2 times more likely than rupture. Your risk of dying from heart disease is roughly 1 in 6, or 55 times greater than your risk of rupture.
If you’re a smoker, your risk of dying from lung cancer is 1 and a half times more likely than a VBAC mom rupturing during her labor.
You’re about 17 times more likely to contract an STD this year than you are to have a uterine rupture; more likely to contract gonorrhea than to rupture, as well.
You’re 13 times more likely to get food poisoning than to rupture.
You’re more likely to have twins than a uterine rupture. Odds of twins: 1 in 90. That’s about 3 1/2 times the likelihood of rupture.
If you ride horseback, you’re 3 times more likely to die in a riding accident than you are to experience a uterine rupture.
If you ride a bike on the street, you are 4 times more likely to die in an accident (annual risk) than you are to suffer a rupture.
Having a serious fire in your home during the next year is twice as likely as experiencing a rupture.
You’re ten times as likely to win at roulette as you are to have a uterine rupture.
If you flip a coin, you’ll be more likely to get heads (or tails) 8 times in a row than to rupture.
The risk of cord prolapse is 1 in 37 (2.7%), or nearly ten times more likely than that of rupture.
And a final irony (heads up, those of you who want a doc to give his/her opinion on your likelihood of rupture next pregnancy!)…
You’re 6 times more likely to have a doctor who is an impostor than you are to suffer a rupture. Two percent of docs are phonies (1 in 50), according to several sources I found.
So instead of worrying about rupture, why not take a few minutes to check up on your doctor’s credentials? 😉 It’d be a more profitable use of your time, and a substantially more likely cause for alarm.
********************************************************************************************************************************Here are a list of facts that I have found regarding VBAC. Please do not get scared – everything we do has risks. This is purely to show you that the chances of something disastrous happening are rare with a VBAC, and it really is a safe way to birth your baby.
There is a:
- 0.15% chance of VBAC uterus’ rupture in a spontaneous labour (1)
- 99.85% of VBAC uterus’ do not rupture in spontaneous labour.
- 1.91% chance of VBAC uterus’ rupture in a labour that is induced or augmented (1)
- 0.88% chance of VBAC uterus’ rupture in a labour that has been induced with prostin and oxytocin (1)
- 0.00% chance of uterine rupture causing maternal death (0.004%) (2)
- 0.01% chance of repeat caesarean cause maternal death (0.013%) (2)
- 0.01% chance of VBAC baby dying through a uterine rupture in a spontaneous labour (2)
- 99.99% of VBAC babies do not die in a spontaneous labour
- 0.05% chance of repeat caesarean babies dying (2)
- 0.07% chance of VBAC Mum needing a hysterectomy after a uterine rupture in spontaneous labour (2)
- 99.94% of VBAC Mums will not need a hysterectomy after a uterine rupture in spontaneous labour
- 0.28% chance of repeat caesareans necessitating a hysterectomy (0.9% after 2 c/s, 2.41% after 3 c/s) (2)
- 1.2% of women in labour have a placental abruption (3)
- 0.17% of baby dying after a placental abruption (3)
- 0.002% chance of a woman having a placental abruption and the baby dies
- 1.4-6.2% of women in labour have an umbilical cord prolapse (4)
- 9.1% of babies die after an umbilical cord prolapse (4)
- 0.13-0.56% chance of a woman having an umbilical cord prolapse and the baby dies
- 70% chance of labouring mothers having a vaginal birth (5)
- 72-90% of planned VBAC mothers have their VBAC (6)
Here’s a graph I made of these statistics:
The only statistic that I forgot to put in there was the 0.05% chance of perinatal (baby) death after a c/section, but I’m sure you can figure out where that fits. The placental abruption and umbilical cord prolapse statistics on this graph have absolutely nothing to do with VBACs – they are a risk factor for every birth, whether VBAC or not. I just included them for comparison purposes.
See – there is no danger reason you should sign up for a repeat c/sec – in fact, it is far safer for both you and your baby if you don’t! You’ve just gotta work on building up your faith, and figuring out what factors may have led to your first one. And I know – this is far easier said than done. It would be very hard to overcome the idea that your body is broken, and that it can not birth a baby vaginally. But you know what? I have faith in you, & your body! You were made for birthing! You come from an incredibly long line of successful women who give birth vaginally! And yes, I know, there are legitimate reasons for c-sections, but in my local area, the hospital rate is 25-30% (a common rate in westernised countries) – and the World Health Organisation states that this rate should be 15% at the absolute most! So that’s a lot of c-sections that were performed unnecessarily.
Anyway, if you do decide to go for a vaginal birth, there are so many people out there that will support you in your journey – you just need to look! I wish you all the best in your journey ahead. Good luck!
(1) Dekker et al, 2010, Risk of uterine rupture in Australian women attempting vaginal birth after one prior caesarean section: a retrospective population-based cohort study. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20716251
(2) http://givingbirthwithconfidence.org/2-2/a-womans-guide-to-vbac/weighing-the-pros-and-cons/ They got these statistics from: Final Statement of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Consensus Conference on VBAC, 2010, http://consensus.nih.gov/2010/vbacstatement.htm#q3
(3) http://givingbirthwithconfidence.org/2010/10/a-womans-guide-to-vbac-putting-uterine-rupture-into-perspective/ – They got these statistics from: Ananth CV, Wilcox AJ. Placental abruption and perinatal mortality in the United States. American Journal of Epidemiology Vol. 153, No. 4 : 332-337
(4) http://givingbirthwithconfidence.org/2010/10/a-womans-guide-to-vbac-putting-uterine-rupture-into-perspective/ – They got these statistics from: Murphy DJ, Mackenzie IZ. The mortality and morbidity associated with umbilical cord prolapse. British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. 1995 Oct;102(10):826-30
More VBAC Resources