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by Walsh B


Uterine rupture is a tear of the muscle of the uterus. Rupture is not common, but it is a serious childbirth complication.

Female Reproductive Organs
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Uterine rupture occurs more often in women who have had prior surgery on their uterus. This may include previous cesarean section or other procedures, such as fibroid removal.

Risk Factors

Factors that may your chance of developing uterine rupture include:

  • Prior rupture
  • Abnormal uterine structure
  • Previous uterine surgery, including cesarean section
  • Use of labor-inducing drugs
  • Delivering post-term
  • Currently having an enlarged uterus, such as carrying more than one baby or having too much amniotic fluid


In many cases, uterine rupture does not have symptoms. When symptoms do occur, they may include:

  • Sudden abdominal pain
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Slowing or stopping of contractions


Your doctor will monitor you and your baby during labor. Problems with the baby's heart rate can be a sign of uterine rupture. If there are signs or symptoms of uterine rupture, the doctor will urgently deliver the baby, usually by cesarian section.

Diagnosis is confirmed during surgery.


If your baby is experiencing fetal distress, the doctor will urgently initiate delivery. It will likely be done by cesarean section. If the baby is not delivered as quickly as possible, it could suffer permanent brain damage, problems due to lack of oxygen, or death. The uterine rupture is surgically repaired after delivery.


If you have one or more risk factors for uterine rupture, develop a thorough birth and complication plan with your doctor.

In many cases, women who delivered a previous baby via cesarean section can attempt a vaginal delivery (VBAC). If you decide to deliver vaginally after a cesarean, your baby will need constant fetal monitoring . You should only deliver the baby in a facility where emergency surgery is available. Talk with your doctor about the best delivery plan for you.


American Pregnancy Association 

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists 


Canadian Women's Health Network 

The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada 


American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. ACOG Practice bulletin no. 115: Vaginal birth after previous cesarean delivery. Obstet Gynecol. 2010;115(2 Pt 1):450-463. Reaffirmed 2015.

Toppenberg K, Block W. Uterine rupture. Am Fam Physician. 2002;66(5):823-829.

Trial of labor after cesarean section (TOLAC). EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: . Updated December 16, 2015. Accessed April 7, 2017.

Kaczmarczyk M, Sparén P, Terry P, Cnattingius S. Risk factors for uterine rupture and neonatal consequences of uterine rupture: a population-based study of successive pregnancies in Sweden. BJOG. 2007;114(10):1208-1214.

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