OBJECTIVE: To investigate optimal timing of elective repeat caesarean section among low-risk pregnant women with prior caesarean section in a multicountry sample from largely low- and middle-income countries. DESIGN: Secondary analysis of a cross-sectional study. SETTING: Twenty-nine countries from the World Health Organization Multicountry Survey on Maternal and Newborn Health. POPULATION: 29,647 women with prior caesarean section and no pregnancy complications in their current pregnancy who delivered a term singleton (live birth and stillbirth) at gestational age 37-41 weeks by pre-labour caesarean section, intra-partum caesarean section, or vaginal birth following spontaneous onset of labour. METHODS: We compared the rate of short-term adverse maternal and newborn outcomes following pre-labour caesarean section at a given gestational age, to those following ongoing pregnancies beyond that gestational age. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Severe maternal outcomes, neonatal morbidity, and intra-hospital early neonatal mortality. RESULTS: Odds of neonatal morbidity and intra-hospital early neonatal mortality were 0.48 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.39-0.60) and 0.31 (95% CI 0.16-0.58) times lower for ongoing pregnancies compared to pre-labour caesarean section at 37 weeks. We did not find any significant change in the risk of severe maternal outcomes between pre-labour caesarean section at a given gestational age and ongoing pregnancies beyond that gestational age. CONCLUSIONS: Elective repeat caesarean section at 37 weeks had higher risk of neonatal morbidity and mortality compared to ongoing pregnancy, however risks at later gestational ages did not differ between groups.