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J Immigr Minor Health. 2012 Apr;14(2):209-14. doi: 10.1007/s10903-011-9450-0.

An examination of cesarean and vaginal birth histories among Hispanic women entering prenatal care in two California counties with large immigrant populations.

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  • 1Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, USA.

Erratum in

  • J Immigr Minor Health. 2012 Apr;14(2);215. Gonzales-Mendez, Enrique [corrected to Gonzalez-Mendez, Enrique].


Repeat cesarean delivery (CD) rates among US Hispanic women are the highest of all racial/ethnic groups (90%). Vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) is an alternative delivery method, but requires medical records documentation of a non-vertical incision and favorable conditions in the current pregnancy. VBAC rates for Hispanic women are extremely low. This study explores the birth histories and medical records access among Hispanic women in California, taking into account the potential role of immigration on access to VBAC. Study aims are to describe for a sample of Hispanic women: (1) CD and VBAC histories as well as history of vaginal delivery preceding CD; and (2) medical records access, among women who had previous births in Mexico. Chart review was conducted for prenatal patients from three safety net clinics in two California counties with large Mexican migrant populations between August, 2003 and February 2004--during which VBAC was widely available in these two counties to determine: obstetric histories, CD details, birthplace and whether or not medical records had been requested/obtained for CD. 355 multiparous Hispanic women were included. Thirty-three percent had a previous CD, almost two-thirds (64%) had only one CD. Over half of the women (55%) with 2+ births and CD history also reported a vaginal birth history. Medical records for CD were infrequently requested (29%). Of those requested, records were received for 77% of women with a US CD, compared with 13% of women with Mexican CD histories. Policies to address: (1) VBAC opportunities for low risk women, such as those with prior vaginal births and one CD, and (2) overcoming limited medical records access, could mitigate against unnecessary CD and associated medical expenditures and risks for future complications.

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