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Women-centred interventions to increase vaginal birth after caesarean section (VBAC): A systematic review

Journal article
Authors Christina Nilsson
Ingela Lundgren
V. Smith
K. Vehvilainen-Julkunen
J. Nicoletti
D. Devane
A. Bernloehr
E. van Limbeek
J. Lalor
Cecily Begley
Published in Midwifery
Volume 31
Issue 7
Pages 657-663
ISSN 0266-6138
Publication year 2015
Published at Institute of Health and Care Sciences
Pages 657-663
Language en
Keywords Vaginal birth after caesarean (VBAC), Women-centred intervention, Systematic review, Caesarean, RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED-TRIAL, MATERNAL REQUEST, PREGNANT-WOMEN, CHILDBIRTH, DELIVERY, FEAR, MODE, EXPERIENCES, PREFERENCE, MORBIDITY, Nursing
Subject categories Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine, Nursing


Objective: to evaluate the effectiveness of women centred interventions during pregnancy and birth to increase rates of vaginal birth after caesarean. Design: we searched bibliographic databases for randomised trials or cluster randomised trials on women centred interventions during pregnancy and birth designed to increase VBAC rates in women with at least one previous caesarean section. Comparator groups included standard or usual care or an alternative treatment aimed at increasing VBAC rates. The methodological quality of included studies was assessed independently by two authors using the Effective Public Health Practice Project quality assessment tool. Outcome data were extracted independently from each included study by two review authors. Findings: in total, 821 citations were identified and screened by title and abstract; 806 were excluded and full text of 15 assessed. Of these, 12 were excluded leaving three papers included in the review. Two studies evaluated the effectiveness of decision aids for mode of birth and one evaluated the effectiveness of an antenatal education programme. The findings demonstrate that neither the use of decision aids nor information/education of women have a significant effect on VBAC rates. Nevertheless, decision-aids significantly decrease women's decisional conflict about mode of birth, and information programmes significantly increase their knowledge about the risks and benefits of possible modes of birth. Key conclusions: few studies evaluated women-centred interventions designed to improve VBAC rates, and all interventions were applied in pregnancy only, none during the birth. There is an urgent need to develop and evaluate the effectiveness of all types of women-centred interventions during pregnancy and birth, designed to improve VBAC rates. Implications for practice: decision-aids and information programmes during pregnancy should be provided for women as, even though they do not affect the rate of VBAC, they decrease women's decisional conflict and increase their knowledge about possible modes of birth. (C) 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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