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03/28/2010

Women Get Back Their VBAC

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After years of recommending against vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC), a NIH consensus panel has called for women to have greater access to the procedure and for women to be able to exercise greater choice over which birthing method (whether repeat cesarean or VBAC) is right for them, says AAFP News Now.

What prompted this change in policy, you might ask? A trumping of women’s rights and autonomous choice in reproduction? Not so much. In fact, the recommendation of TOL (trial of labor) before opting for cesarean is based on new evidence that often the outcome for baby and mother is just as good with VBAC as with repeat cesareans.

The recommendation’s language is encouraging though: “a shared decision-making process should be adopted and, whenever possible, the women’s preference should be honored.”

With the data that VBAC and cesarean are equivalent in terms of clinical outcome, it would appear that shared decision-making and autonomy can trump for women in some situations. It’s about time.

Summer Johnson, PhD

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