Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Women's Health

Font Size

Second Births Too Often Cesarean

Women With 'Bikini Line' Scars Can Have Vaginal Deliveries
WebMD Health News

Nov. 7, 2002 -- The number of second cesarean births is up, despite efforts nationwide to reduce them. Public health officials want more women to have vaginal births after a cesarean delivery, which carry less risk for the mother, says the CDC in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

In fact, two years ago the Surgeon General set a goal to reduce second cesarean births substantially by 2010, especially among women at low risk and women who have already had one cesarean birth.

To assess the progress of California in meeting the national objectives, CDC officials analyzed birth certificate data. Among their findings regarding vaginal births after cesarean (called VBAC by doctors):

  • From 1996 to 2000, the VBAC rate dropped from 23% to 15% among women who had previous cesarean births.
  • The highest VBAC rates were among women between ages 20 and 29, and the lowest rates were among women age 40 and over.
  • VBAC rates declined most -- 49% -- among women 19 years old and over.
  • College graduates had the highest VBAC rates, and women with less than a high school education had the lowest rates.
  • More women in HMOs had the highest VBAC rates; women with MediCal/Medicaid had the lowest rates.

California's declines reflect what's happening across the country, says an accompanying editorial.

"The decrease in VBAC might reflect medical and legal pressures, provider preferences, changed standards of obstetric practice, concerns about convenience, fear of prolonged or failed labor, and maternal preferences," the report says.

Before the 1980s, cesarean births were commonplace for women who had already had one cesarean birth. However, in 1980 the NIH concluded that a vaginal delivery was safe for a woman if she had a "bikini line" scar -- as opposed to a vertical scar from the top to the bottom of the abdomen.

Other studies have shown that women who have cesarean births have a greater risk of infections, hemorrhages, problems with subsequent pregnancies, and potentially less bonding with the infant.

In 1999, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists issued guidelines specifying that the majority of women with bikini incisions -- who had no other risk factors -- could have vaginal births.

Today on WebMD

hands on abdomen
Test your knowledge.
womans hand on abdomen
Are you ready for baby?
birth control pills
Learn about your options.
Is it menopause or something else?
woman in bathtub
bp app on smartwatch and phone
estrogen gene

Send yourself a link to download the app.

Loading ...

Please wait...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.


Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

Blood pressure check
hot water bottle on stomach
Attractive young woman standing in front of mirror