There is little agreement on who is a good candidate for community (home or birth center) birth in the United States.
Data on n=47 394 midwife-attended, planned community births come from the Midwives Alliance of North America Statistics Project. Logistic regression quantified the independent contribution of 10 risk factors to maternal and neonatal outcomes. Risk factors included: primiparity, advanced maternal age, obesity, gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, postterm pregnancy, twins, breech presentation, history of cesarean and vaginal birth, and history of cesarean without history of vaginal birth. Models controlled additionally for Medicaid, race/ethnicity, and education.
The independent contributions of maternal age and obesity were quite modest, with adjusted odds ratios (AOR) less than 2.0 for all outcomes: hospital transfer, cesarean, perineal trauma, postpartum hemorrhage, low/very-low Apgar, maternal or neonatal hospitalization, NICU admission, and fetal/neonatal death. Breech was strongly associated with morbidity and fetal/neonatal mortality (AOR 8.2, 95% CI, 3.7-18.4). Women with a history of both cesarean and vaginal birth fared better than primiparas across all outcomes; however, women with a history of cesarean but no prior vaginal births had poor outcomes, most notably fetal/neonatal demise (AOR 10.4, 95% CI, 4.8-22.6). Cesarean births were most common in the breech (44.7%), preeclampsia (30.6%), history of cesarean without vaginal birth (22.1%), and primipara (11.0%) groups.
The outcomes of labor after cesarean in women with previous vaginal deliveries indicates that guidelines uniformly prohibiting labor after cesarean should be reconsidered for this subgroup. Breech presentation has the highest rate of adverse outcomes supporting management of vaginal breech labor in a hospital setting.
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Bovbjerg ML, Cheyney M, Brown J, Cox K, Leeman L. Perspectives on Risk: Assessment of risk profiles and outcomes among women planning community birth in the United States. Birth, 2017 Sept; 44(3): 209-21.