Low risk pregnancies after a cesarean section: Determinants of trial of labor and its failure
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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OriginalversjonPLoS ONE. 2020, 15 (1), e0226894. 10.1371/journal.pone.0226894
Introduction: In pregnancies after a previous cesarean section (CS), a planned repeat CS delivery has been associated with excess risk of adverse outcome. However, also the alternative, a trial of labor after CS (TOLAC), has been associated with excess risks. A TOLAC failure, involving a non-planned CS, carries the highest risk of adverse outcome and a vaginal delivery the lowest. Thus, the decision regarding delivery mode is pivotal in clinical handling of these pregnancies. However, even with a high TOLAC rate, as seen in Norway, repeat CSs are regularly performed for no apparent medical reason. The objective of the present study was to assess to which extent demographic, socioeconomic, and health system factors are determinants of TOLAC and TOLAC failure in low risk pregnancies, and whether any effects observed changed with time. Materials and methods: The study group comprised 24 645 second deliveries (1989–2014) after a first delivery CS. Thus, none of the women had prior vaginal deliveries or more than one CS. Included pregnancies were low risk, cephalic, single, and had gestational age ≥ 37 weeks. Data were obtained from the Medical Birth Registry of Norway (MBRN). The exposure variables were (second delivery) maternal age, length of maternal education, maternal country of origin, size of the delivery unit, health region (South-East, West, Mid, North), and maternal county of residence. The outcomes were TOLAC and TOLAC failure, as rates (%), relative risk (RR) and relative risk adjusted (ARR). Changes in determinant effects over time were assessed by comparing rates in two periods, 1989–2002 vs 2003–2014, and including these periods in an interaction model. Results: The TOLAC rate was 74.9%, with a TOLAC failure rate of 16.2%, resulting in a vaginal birth rate of 62.8%. Low TOLAC rates were observed at high maternal age and in women from East Asia or Latin America. High TOLAC failure rates were observed at high maternal age, in women with less than 11 years of education, and in women of non-western origin. The effects of health system factors, i.e. delivery unit size and administrative region were considerable, on both TOLAC and TOLAC failure. The effects of several determinants changed significantly (P < 0.05) from 1989–2002 to 2003–2014: The association between non-TOLAC and maternal age > 39 years became weaker, the association between short education and TOLAC failure became stronger, and the association between TOLAC failure and small size of delivery unit became stronger. Conclusion: Low maternal age, high education, and western country of origin were associated with high TOLAC rates, and low TOLAC failure rates. Maternity unit characteristics (size and region) contributed with effects on the same level as individual determinants studied. Temporal changes were observed in determinant effects.