Early childhood educational outcomes of children associated with vaginal birth after cesarean delivery


      Rates of vaginal birth after cesarean delivery have decreased and cesarean delivery rates have increased in the last 2 decades. Evidence on short-term neonatal outcomes is available, but data on long-term childhood outcomes following vaginal birth after cesarean delivery are insufficient. Long-term childhood outcome data are essential in decision-making regarding mode of delivery.


      This study aimed to evaluate the association between delivery mode and long-term educational outcomes of the children of pregnant individuals with a previous cesarean delivery.


      This was a retrospective cohort study linking Rhode Island third-grade education data from 2014 to 2017 to birth certificate data. Data were obtained from a statewide database using Department of Education data, and were linked to Department of Health birth certificate data. Participants were children of multiparous women who were term, singleton births without congenital anomalies. Children delivered by primary cesarean delivery were excluded. The exposure was mode of delivery classified as vaginal birth after cesarean delivery, repeated cesarean delivery, or repeated vaginal birth. The primary outcome was children's third-grade reading and math proficiency. Bivariate analyses were conducted to assess differences in demographic variables. Bivariable and multivariable log-binomial regression was used to examine the association between subject proficiency and predictors including mode of delivery, maternal education, sex, child race or ethnicity, and lunch subsidy.


      Of the 10,923 children who met the inclusion criteria, 2.0% were delivered by vaginal birth after cesarean delivery, 22.0% by repeated cesarean delivery, and 76.0% by repeated vaginal delivery. After adjustment for confounders, there was no difference in reading proficiency (adjusted risk ratio, 0.98; 95% confidence interval, 0.84–1.15) or math proficiency (adjusted risk ratio, 0.99; 95% confidence interval, 0.84–1.15) between those born by vaginal birth after cesarean delivery and those born by repeated cesarean delivery. There was no difference found in either proficiency between children born by repeated vaginal birth and those born by repeated cesarean delivery (reading: adjusted risk ratio, 0.97; 95% confidence interval, 0.93–1.01; math: adjusted risk ratio, 0.97; 95% confidence interval, 0.92–1.02).


      In comparison with repeated cesarean delivery, both vaginal birth after cesarean delivery and repeated vaginal birth were not associated with differences in educational outcomes. This may aid in counseling about long-term safety outcomes regarding vaginal birth after cesarean delivery and may assist in shared decision-making when selecting between trial of labor after cesarean delivery and repeated cesarean delivery.

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