Journal Article
Systematic Review
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Trial of labor versus elective cesarean delivery for patients with two prior cesarean sections: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

OBJECTIVE: Cesarean section (CS) rates have been on the rise globally, leading to an increasing number of women facing the decision between a Trial of Labor after two Cesarean Sections (TOLAC-2) or opting for an Elective Repeat Cesarean Section (ERCS). This study evaluates and compares safety outcomes of TOLAC and ERCS in women with a history of two previous CS deliveries.

METHODS: PubMed, MEDLINE, EMbase, and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) databases were searched for studies published until 30 June 2023. Eligible studies were included based on predetermined criteria, and a random-effects model was employed to pool data for maternal and neonatal outcomes.

RESULTS: Thirteen studies with a combined sample size of 101,011 women who had two prior CS were included. TOLAC-2 was associated with significantly higher maternal mortality (odds ratio (OR)=1.50, 95% confidence interval (CI)= 1.25-1.81) and higher chance of uterine rupture (OR = 7.15, 95% CI = 3.44-14.87) compared to ERCS. However, no correlation was found for other maternal outcomes, including blood transfusion, hysterectomy, or post-partum hemorrhage. Furthermore, neonatal outcomes, such as Apgar scores, NICU admissions, and neonatal mortality, were comparable in the TOLAC-2 and ERCS groups.

CONCLUSION: Our findings suggest an increased risk of uterine rupture and maternal mortality with TOLAC-2, emphasizing the need for personalized risk assessment and shared decision-making by healthcare professionals. Additional studies are needed to refine our understanding of these outcomes in the context of TOLAC-2.

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