Child Birth Options – Natural vaginal delivery vs Caesarean section
There are two ways a mother can deliver her child– normal vaginal delivery, or through a surgical procedure called caesarean section, commonly known as a C-section.
Generally speaking, C-sections are meant for deliveries when going through a normal vaginal delivery is deemed to be risky. Therefore, a pregnant mother would know in advance if she is undergoing a C-section. For example, if she is expecting multiple babies, or if she has a medical condition such as placenta previa, that causes natural delivery to be risky. More recently, with your doctor’s professional advice and discretion, it is now possible to have a C-section as your preferred birth option.
In some special cases, the decision to have a caesarean section birth may be unplanned. An obstetrician can recommend a caesarean section if the life of the mother, child, or both, is at risk.
Though generally safe and sometimes life-saving, C-sections have their share of risks and complications. For example, if a first-time mother delivers by C-section, she will most probably undergo a C-section during subsequent deliveries and likely have a more in-depth discussion with their OBGYN before making an informed decision on their choice of delivery.[EC1] [ALHS2]
On the other hand, vaginal delivery is considered as a natural method of childbirth, and generally the most ideal method form of delivery. It is said that it gives women a more natural experience, and has more advantages as compared to undergoing a C-section.
Here is a list of the pros and cons of both delivery methods.
- Pros of Vaginal Birth
- Significantly shorter hospital stay and recovery time for vaginal deliveries.
- Reduced complications of major surgeries like infections, scars, excessive bleeding, and more.
- Earlier contact with your newborn – You can hold the baby, and begin your breastfeeding journey sooner.
- The fluid present in your baby’s lungs is squeezed out during delivery. This means that babies delivered naturally are at lower risk of developing breathing problems after birth.
- A vaginal delivery also exposes your baby to good bacteria as they go through the birth canal. This boosts their immune system, giving them more protection against illnesses right from birth.
- Cons of Vaginal Birth
- Risk of stretching and tearing the skin and tissue around the vagina as the baby comes out.
- You may experience persistent pain and discomfort around the perineum, but this goes away after a few days.
- If the baby is large, a natural delivery could cause him/her injury during delivery.
- Pros of C-Section Births
- It is more predictable and convenient compared to vaginal births.
- Less pain during the birthing process.
- Cons of C-Section Births
- Longer recovery time as compared to vaginal birth.
- Higher risk of developing complications after birth.
- Higher exposure to the risks of major surgery.
- Delayed first interactions with your baby because of the Anaesthesia used during delivery.
- Higher chance of your baby developing breathing problems at birth or early childhood.
We highly recommend that you engage in an early discussion about your birth plans with your doctor/ medical practitioner to detail your preferred delivery method and pain relief options. Keep in mind that every individual pregnancy is different, and each birth comes with different complications and characteristics.