The Maternal-Fetal Medicine Units Cesarean Registry: Safety and efficacy of a trial of labor in preterm pregnancy after a prior cesarean delivery

Celeste P. Durnwald*, Dwight J. Rouse, Kenneth J. Leveno, Catherine Y. Spong, Cora MacPherson, Michael W. Varner, Atef H. Moawad, Steve N. Caritis, Margaret Harper, Ronald J. Wapner, Yoram Sorokin, Menachem Miodovnik, Marshall Carpenter, Alan M. Peaceman, Mary Jo O'Sullivan, Baha Sibai, Oded Langer, John M. Thorp, Susan M. Ramin, Brian M. MercerSteven G. Gabbe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Objective: This study was undertaken to compare success rates of vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) delivery, and uterine rupture as well as maternal/perinatal outcomes between women with preterm and term pregnancies undergoing trial of labor (TOL), and to compare maternal and neonatal morbidities in those women with preterm pregnancies undergoing a TOL versus repeat cesarean delivery without labor (RCD). Study design: Prospective 4-year observational study of women with a singleton gestation and a prior cesarean delivery at 19 academic centers. Clinical characteristics, maternal complications and VBAC delivery success for those with a preterm (240-366 weeks) TOL, preterm RCD and term TOL (≥37 weeks) were analyzed. Results: Among 3119 preterm pregnancies with prior cesarean delivery, 2338 (75%) underwent a TOL. 15,331 women undergoing TOL at term were also analyzed as a control group. TOL success rates for preterm and term pregnancies were similar (72.8% vs 73.3%, P = .64). Rates of uterine rupture (0.34% vs 0.74%, P = .03) and dehiscence (0.26% vs 0.67%, P = .02) were lower in preterm compared with term TOL. Thromboembolic disease, coagulopathy and transfusion were more common in women undergoing a preterm TOL than those at term. Among women undergoing a preterm TOL, rates of uterine dehiscence, coagulopathy, transfusion, and endometritis were similar to those having a preterm RCD. After controlling for gestational age at delivery and race, neonatal outcomes such as Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) admission, intraventricular hemorrhage, sepsis, and ventilatory support were similar in both groups except for a higher rate of respiratory distress syndrome in those delivered after a TOL. Conclusion: The likelihood of VBAC success after TOL in preterm pregnancies is comparable to term gestations, with a lower risk of uterine rupture. Perinatal outcomes are similar with preterm TOL and RCD. TOL should be considered as an option for women undergoing preterm delivery with a history of prior cesarean delivery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1119-1126
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican journal of obstetrics and gynecology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2006


  • Cesarean delivery
  • Preterm pregnancy
  • Trial of labor
  • Vaginal birth after cesarean

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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