Rupture of the uterus, although uncommon, is an obstetric emergency that poses a significant threat to both maternal and fetal life. For these reasons, the midwife must be able to recognise the women in her care, who may be at risk of uterine rupture, the signs and symptoms of a uterine rupture and the immediate and ongoing interventions that may be required.
There are many factors that are known to increase the risk for uterine rupture but even in high risk groups the overall incidence of uterine rupture is low.
Uterine rupture occurs in 0.05 % to 0.086 % of all pregnancies.
Dehiscence of a caesarean section scar is the most common cause of uterine rupture and the incidence varies according to type and location of the uterine incision.
Prolonged fetal bradycardia is the first sign in 70% of all uterine ruptures.
However, with the increasing trend for women to achieve a vaginal birth after caesarean section (VBAC), the risk of a midwife encountering this emergency increases. The aim of this module is to refresh midwives’ knowledge in the event that this obstetric emergency is encountered and to serve as a tool for collegial discussion, reflection and evidence based practice review.
At the end of this module participants will be able to: