Monash Bioethics Review

, Volume 28, Issue 3, pp 27–45

Bioethics and Birth

Insights on Risk Decision-Making for an Elective Caesarean after a Prior Caesarean Delivery
  • Pam McGrath
  • Emma Phillips

DOI: 10.1007/BF03351315

Cite this article as:
McGrath, P. & Phillips, E. Monash Bioethics Review (2009) 28: 27. doi:10.1007/BF03351315


This article presents the findings of qualitative research which explored, from the mothers’ perspective, the process of decision-making about mode of delivery for a subsequent birth after a previous Caesarean Section. In contradiction to the clinical literature, the majority of mothers in this study were strongly of the opinion that a vaginal birth after caesarean (VBAC) posed a higher risk than an elective caesarean (EC). From the mothers’ perspective, risk discussions were primarily valuable for gaining support for their pre-determined choice, rather than obtaining information. The findings posit ethical concerns with regards to informed consent and professional obstetric practice at a time when there is a documented and worrying trend towards an increase in births by caesarean section (CS).

Copyright information

© Monash University 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pam McGrath
    • 1
  • Emma Phillips
    • 1
  1. 1.CQ UniversityAustralia

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