To examine trends and characteristics of home vaginal birth after cesarean delivery (VBAC) in the United States and selected states from 1990–2008.
Birth certificate data were used to track trends in home and hospital VBACs from 1990–2008. Data on planned home VBAC were analyzed by sociodemographic and medical characteristics for the 25 states reporting this information in 2008 and compared with hospital VBAC data.
In 2008, there were approximately 42,000 hospital VBACs and approximately 1,000 home VBACs in the United States, up from 664 in 2003 and 656 in 1990. The percentage of home births that were VBACs increased from less than 1% in 1996 to 4% in 2008, whereas the percentage of hospital births that were VBACs decreased from 3% in 1996 to 1% in 2008. Planned home VBACs had a lower risk profile than hospital VBACs with fewer births to teenagers, unmarried women, or smokers; fewer preterm or low-birth-weight deliveries; and higher maternal education levels.
Recent increases in the proportion of U.S. women with a prior cesarean delivery mean that an increasing number of women are faced with the choice and associated risks of either VBAC or repeat cesarean delivery. Recent restrictions in hospital VBAC availability have coincided with increases in home VBACs; however, home VBAC remains rare, with approximately 1,000 occurrences in 2008.
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