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Semin Perinatol. 2006 Oct;30(5):247-52.

Maternal request cesarean versus planned spontaneous vaginal delivery: maternal morbidity and short term outcomes.

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Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Maine Medical Center, Portland, ME 04102, USA.


Since no randomized trial evaluates maternal morbidity from planned cesarean versus planned vaginal delivery, the issue must be addressed indirectly from retrospective cohort studies of vertex fetuses by actual or planned delivery route, and retrospective or randomized studies of breech fetuses by planned delivery route. The available data, although limited, suggest that term planned cesarean and planned vaginal delivery have similarly low rates of absolute and relative short-term maternal morbidity. Endometritis and cystitis are more frequent with cesarean, whereas hemorrhage is more frequent with planned vaginal delivery. Much of the morbidity of planned vaginal delivery is the morbidity of unplanned cesarean in labor and operative vaginal delivery, particularly forceps. Thus, the relative risk of short-term maternal morbidity of planned cesarean versus planned vaginal delivery will depend on the proportion of women in each group ultimately delivering in the planned manner and the frequency with which delivery occurs by an alternative unplanned method.

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