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
  1. Significantly shorter hospital stay and recovery time for vaginal deliveries.
  2. Reduced complications of major surgeries like infections, scars, excessive bleeding, and more.
  3. Earlier contact with your newborn – You can hold the baby, and begin your breastfeeding journey sooner.
  4. 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.
  5. 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
  1. Risk of stretching and tearing the skin and tissue around the vagina as the baby comes out.
  2. You may experience persistent pain and discomfort around the perineum, but this goes away after a few days.
  3. If the baby is large, a natural delivery could cause him/her injury during delivery.
  • Pros of C-Section Births
  1. It is more predictable and convenient compared to vaginal births.
  2. Less pain during the birthing process.
  • Cons of C-Section Births
  1. Longer recovery time as compared to vaginal birth.
  2. Higher risk of developing complications after birth.
  3. Higher exposure to the risks of major surgery.
  4. Delayed first interactions with your baby because of the Anaesthesia used during delivery.
  5. 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.

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