NIH Consensus Development Conference on VBAC

The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development convened a Consensus Development VBAC Conference in Bethesda, Maryland from March 8–10, 2010. Based on the best available evidence, the NIH concluded that VBAC was a safe and reasonable option for women with a prior cesarean section. The NIH expert panel recommended that physicians, hospitals, insurers, and policy makers should work together to increase access to VBAC.

The U.S. saw an increase in VBACs from the 1980s through the mid 1990s, but the VBAC rates have consistently declined since. One in four women had a VBAC in 1996 compared to 1 in 100 today.

In a press release by the NIH, the independent panel that examined the VBAC issue  found “that pregnant women currently have limited access to clinicians and facilities able and willing to offer a trial of labor after previous cesarean delivery because of so-called VBAC bans. Many, even those at low risk for complications in a trial of labor, are not offered this option.”

The NIH findings have important implications for women who want to plan a VBAC. To understand how the NIH findings can help women who want to plan a VBAC see Lamaze International’s

A Woman’s Guide to VBAC : Navigating the NIH Consensus Recomendations

These are some of the commentaries and responses to the conference

Science & Sensibility Blog

Citizens for Midwifery,  NIH VBAC Consensus Development Conference

The Feminist Breader, Covering the NIH VBAC Conference

The Unnecesarean

ICAN, Why is VBAC a Vital Option?