Beginning today and continuing through March 10, the National Institutes of Health is hosting a “consensus development conference” on the topic of vaginal birth after cesarean section.
A free live webcast (with captioning) of the conference is being made available for those who can’t attend the Bethesda, MD event. (You may need to download an appropriate media player to watch it.)
Various experts are discussing the medical evidence on VBAC (audience discussion has been lively already!), including the following key questions:
- What are the rates and patterns of utilization of trial of labor after prior cesarean, vaginal birth after cesarean, and repeat cesarean delivery in the United States?
- Among women who attempt a trial of labor after prior cesarean, what is the vaginal delivery rate and the factors that influence it?
- What are the short- and long-term benefits and harms to the mother of attempting trial of labor after prior cesarean versus elective repeat cesarean delivery, and what factors influence benefits and harms?
- What are the short- and long-term benefits and harms to the baby of maternal attempt at trial of labor after prior cesarean versus elective repeat cesarean delivery, and what factors influence benefits and harms?
- What are the nonmedical factors that influence the patterns and utilization of trial of labor after prior cesarean?
- What are the critical gaps in the evidence for decision-making, and what are the priority investigations needed to address these gaps?
They are also expected to discuss a systematic literature review on the topic prepared under contract with the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) which will be completed and released this year and will address these same key questions. The previous AHRQ review on the topic was completed in 2003, and identified significant gaps in the literature and the problems those gaps pose for informed decision-making. A full agenda with listed presenters and sponsors is available online.
Following the conference, a panel will prepare a consensus statement addressing the key questions; you can sign up to be notified when the draft and final statements are available online and/or to receive a mailed copy of the final statement.
The Feminist Breeder is planning to have coverage of the conference on her blog and radio show, and the International Cesarean Awareness Network is planning a blog carnival on the topic of why VBAC is a viable option [hat tip to Jill at The Unnecesarean]. The hashtag #nihvbac is being used for discussion on Twitter.
The full conference will be archived at the NIH website, so if you can’t watch this week, you can view the proceedings later.