Mode of birth and postnatal health-related quality of life after one previous cesarean in three European countries.
BACKGROUND:How a woman gives birth can affect her health-related quality of life (HRQoL). This study explored HRQoL at 3 months postpartum in women with a history of one previous cesarean in three European countries. METHODS:A prospective longitudinal survey, embedded within a cluster randomized trial in three countries, exploring women's postnatal HRQoL up to 3 months postpartum. The Short-Form Six-Dimensions (SF-6D) was used to measure HRQoL, and multivariate analyses were used to examine the relationship with mode of birth. RESULTS:Complete data were available from 880 women. Women with a spontaneous vaginal birth had the highest HRQoL scores, whereas women with an emergency repeat cesarean (P = .01) had the lowest. Postnatal readmission of the mother (P = .03), having public health insurance (P = .04), and a low antenatal HRQoL score (P < .01) contributes to poorer HRQoL scores. More specifically, women with a spontaneous vaginal birth had significantly higher HRQoL scores on the vitality dimension compared with women with an emergency repeat cesarean (P = .04). CONCLUSIONS:In women with low-risk factors, repeat cesareans result in a poorer HRQoL compared with vaginal birth. When there are no contraindications for vaginal birth, women with a history of one previous cesarean should be encouraged to give birth vaginally rather than have an elective repeat cesarean.
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