Likelihood of Continued Childbearing After Cesarean Delivery in the United States

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To estimate the likelihood of continued childbearing as a function of mode of delivery and number of cesarean deliveries and to explore whether it varies by sociodemographic characteristics.

METHODS:

Cross-sectional data from the 2006–2010 National Survey of Family Growth were used to conduct an analysis of U.S. childbearing women. The birth trajectory for respondents who identified a live, singleton, first birth was assessed through four births. Population-weighted analyses were performed to test the association between route of delivery and sociodemographic characteristics with the likelihood of subsequent birth.

RESULTS:

Among 6,526 respondents, cesarean delivery, regardless of birth order, was associated with a lower likelihood of future birth, which decreased in a dose–response fashion as the number of cesarean deliveries increased. Among women with three births, those with two or three cesarean deliveries were 37% and 59% less likely (P<.05), respectively, to have a fourth birth when compared with women with three vaginal deliveries, adjusting for confounders. When interaction terms were added to the model, lower income women were significantly more likely to have a fourth birth after undergoing two or three cesarean deliveries than women with higher incomes (adjusted incidence rate ratio 2.50, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.23–5.05 and adjusted incidence rate ratio 2.39, 95% CI 1.01–5.65, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS:

U.S. women who have cesarean deliveries are less likely to continue childbearing, especially because they undergo higher numbers of cesarean deliveries; however, this relationship is attenuated among low-income women. Given the risks associated with multiple cesarean deliveries, these findings underscore the need to further examine this relationship and what factors may be driving the income-based difference in childbearing after cesarean deliveries.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE:

II

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