This week new UK research shows that planned C-section can be "the safest option" for women who have had a previous C-section.

But does this research present a true picture of risk?

This week's research looks at short term risks for mother and baby and finds that there is a small but increased chance of complications with VBAC (vaginal birth after C-section) compared to ERCS (elective repeat C-section).

From this week's research:
"Overall, 1.8% of those having a planned VBAC and 0.8% of those having an ERCS experienced serious maternal morbidity (uterine rupture, peripartum hysterectomy, blood transfusion, puerperal sepsis, or surgical injury), and 8.0% of the planned VBAC and 6.4% of the ERCS group experienced one or more of the adverse perinatal outcomes considered (intrapartum stillbirth or neonatal death, admission to a neonatal unit, resuscitation requiring drugs, and/or intubation or Apgar score < 7 at 5 minutes)."

But last week there was a big new study (also from the UK) that showed babies born by C-section have an altered microbiome compared to babies born vaginally. Instead, the infant microbiome of babies born by C-section is colonised with harmful microbes that are common in hospitals.

But - in this week's report, there's no mention of the infant microbiome.There's no mention of the short and long-term risks associated with an altered microbiome related to C-section.

There's no mention of potential lifelong health risks associated with sub-optimal immune training related to C-section (as explored in our Microbirth Movie and in our Microbiome Courses).

By ignoring the impact of C-section on the infant microbiome, does this new study present the full picture? If you ignore the infant microbiome in discussions about VBAC or repeat C-section, are you really empowering mothers with true informed choice?

What do you think?

I would love to hear your thoughts. Write in the Comments Box below.

IMAGE CREDIT Ben J Gibbs CC by 2.0

Link to BBC article explaining this week's research :
Link to this week's research paper:
Link to Nature article on last week's microbiome and C-section research paper:
Link to last week's research paper: Shao, Y. et al. Nature (2019).