Something to think about

Whenever anybody finds out that I am planning a VBAC ( vaginal birth after csection) I can almost bet that the first question they are going to ask is, aren't you afraid of your uterus tearing open? In truth, yes, I am afraid of uterine rupture, but not nearly as much as I'm afraid of being cut open again, having 6-8 weeks of painful recovery, dealing with the risk of infection and anesthesia, and all of the other potential risks that are brought about with a repeat C-section. I dont know why, but people seem to think that Cesareans are safe, yes, I understand that they are performed millions of times over throughout the world, but it is still MAJOR surgery.
I have been reading up on VBACS since I had my daughter, it was never really an option in my mind to not try for one. I just feel that for me, its the right thing to do, and thankfully my husband and midwives agree.
I recently came across a really interesting article over at Sage Femme on uterine rupture during VBAC that I thought I would share with you all.

Ruptures are 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.

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.


  1. Good answers and love the statistics!
    If I was to have a second, I too would go for a VBAC, if what made me have a life-saving c-section the first time around doesn't happen the second. The only reason I had a c-section was the reason I would have one: that I needed it and it was life and death, not just that the labour was taking too long for the doctors or nurses. Doctors these days are too happy to do c-sections, it makes life nice and easy for them. Forget about the increased risk of just about everything for us, the women who have them. It is major surgery and if anyone else, other than a woman giving birth, was to have one, the equivalent surgery and recovery would be treated much more seriously by everyone else!

  2. Someone sent me a link to your blog and I had to read all the back-entries! And I just wanted to say that I've had 3 successful VBACs and it was so worth it! Plus, the rupture stats would change dramatically if you removed all the ones that happened while a woman was given pitocen. Pitocin creates artificially strong contractions and is responsible for most vbac ruptures. Good luck, I hope everything goes well with the rest of your pregnancy and delivery!


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