Vaginal births after caesarean: What does Google think about it?

  • Nadia Bantan
    Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Jewish General Hospital, McGill University, Canada
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  • Haim Arie Abenhaim
    Corresponding author at: Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Jewish General Hospital, 5790 Cote-Des-Neiges Road, Pav H, Montreal, Quebec H3S 1Y9, Canada.
    Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Jewish General Hospital, McGill University, Canada

    Centre for Clinical Epidemiology and Community Studies, Jewish General Hospital, Canada
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Published:October 28, 2014DOI:



      Vaginal birth after caesarean (VBAC) is a relatively safe alternative to repeat caesarean birth in the proper context. This important decision to undergo an elective caesarean versus VBAC is ultimately a decision of the mother. The purpose of our study was to assess the quality of online information in relation to VBAC collected using the most common search engine: Google.


      The 10 most common hit sites for the keywords “VBAC” and “Vaginal birth after caesarean” were evaluated using the search engine Google. The quality of websites was rated based on the Silberg scale for accountability, the modified Abbott's criteria for presentation and the SMOG index for readability. The content of each website was compared to the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada (SOGC) guidelines for VBAC.


      13 out of 20 identified websites met the adequate criteria for accountability, with 85% of the websites indicating authorship. 11 websites were deemed aesthetically agreeable. The target audience, assessed by the readability score, was notably above the non-medical population with an average SMOG index score of 14.75. Only half of the websites contained recommendations, as detailed by the SOGC guidelines.


      Almost all sites target a higher academic level, making it beyond the comprehension of the general population. Woman friendly web-assessment tools should be provided to enable pregnant women to take an active role in their decision making.


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