The proportion of women who plan for a repeat elective caesarean section (CS) is one of the major determinants of the overall rate of CS, and programs aiming to reduce the rate of CS have not been greatly successful. To date, there appear to have been no large studies directly addressing paternal influences on decision‐making regarding vaginal birth after caesarean (VBAC). This study aimed to compare the reactions of fathers and mothers to the prospect of VBAC.

Couples were recruited from three Australian hospitals and were eligible with a singleton pregnancy, a normal morphology ultrasound, and where there was no condition in the new pregnancy that would preclude a vaginal birth. Questionnaires were scheduled for 20 weeks’ gestation, 32–36 weeks’ gestation and six weeks postnatal and were sent separately to each partner.

Seventy‐five couples completed the full sets of questionnaires during the study period. In total, 31 women (41%) ultimately attempted vaginal delivery, and 44 (59%) were delivered by planned CS. When the paternal rating of risk fell between the second and third trimesters, the couple were likely to attempt VBAC (P < 0.05). Where the maternal rating of importance was 3 or less, 92% had a planned CS compared to 63% for the same paternal scores (P = 0.02). Conclusion This study suggests that interventions that improve the paternal perceptions of risk during a pregnancy might increase the chance that a couple will attempt VBAC.