Women having their second birth vaginally whose first birth was by caesarean section

Chart title: Women having their second birth vaginally whose first birth was by caesarean section, by State/territory of birth and all Australia, 2007 to 2019.

This chart shows the proportion of women having their second birth vaginally whose first birth was by caesarean section, by state/territory of birth, 2007 to 2019.  Data can be viewed for each state/territory of birth, and for all Australia. The proportion of women having their second birth vaginally whose first birth was by caesarean section for all Australia varied from 13.3% in 2007, peaking at 14.1% in 2010, dropping to 12.2% in 2017 and remaining steady at 12.2% in 2019.

Clinical commentary

For women who have had a previous caesarean section, the choice for method of birth in their next pregnancy is either a trial of vaginal birth after caesarean section (VBAC) or a repeat caesarean section (RCS).

Caesarean section in a first pregnancy makes a subsequent caesarean section more likely, with 86% of pregnant women with a history of caesarean section birth having a subsequent caesarean section, while the remainder have a vaginal birth (AIHW 2021).  

Both RCS and VBAC are associated with benefits and harms. Risks of planned VBAC when compared with planned RCS include haemorrhage, need for blood transfusion, uterine rupture, and perinatal death (Guise et al. 2010). About 70% of women who had a previous caesarean section are good candidates for non-instrumental vaginal birth, with 70–87% who attempt succeeding (Frass & Harazi 2011; Potera 2010).

Indicator specifications and data

Excel source data tables are available from the Data tab.

For more information refer to Specifications and notes for analysis in the technical notes.