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A safe delivery is one of the biggest joys in a mother’s life. Passing labor is a long process and can be a very stressful phase. The 2 common delivery methods practiced are Normal/vaginal delivery and C-section/caesarean delivery.
The normal or vaginal delivery is the most prefered method of delivery by most mothers and gynecologists as well, unless there is a complication. In that case, the c-section is opted for. Some factors influencing the choice of the birthing method include - physical and emotional health of the mother, hormonal levels, position of the baby, last minute complications, blood loss, placental placement, etc. Irrespective of the method, the ultimate goal is always a safe delivery for both mother and child, and a healthy baby. However, it is good to gain a comparative understanding of both methods if you are expecting or someone in your family is.
A normal delivery is considered the most preferred and a safe birthing process. This is because it does not involve any incision or scarring on the body and minimises the chances of developing complications as there is no surgery involved.
However, it is not possible for every woman to opt for a normal delivery if she suffers from a medical condition (diabetes, high blood pressure etc.), has any sort of infection that could affect her baby (HIV, herpes) or experiences low placenta during her pregnancy. Other situations where a normal delivery becomes difficult is when the mother is delivering a large baby and has a small pelvis, is expecting twins or multiple babies or if the baby is not in an appropriate position.
Benefits And Risks Of A Normal/Vaginal Delivery
- Since vaginal delivery is a non-surgical method of birthing, the body and the baby prepares for it naturally and progresses for the same throughout the gestational period.
- Normal delivery has a shorter hospital stay, usually two to three days, post-delivery compared to a C-section.
- As the baby passes through the vaginal opening, the muscles squeeze out the amniotic fluid in the baby’s lungs which prevents it from having breathing problems at the time of birth.
- Certain good bacteria get naturally ingested into the baby during this phase that will protect the intestines and naturally boost the immune system.
- The recovery is quick as there is no surgery or anaesthesia involved. It therefore enables the mother to begin breastfeeding soon after she delivers.
- The schedule of birth cannot be determined in case of normal delivery imposing a lot of stress at the time of labor.
- The pelvic muscles may get weaker or injured due to excessive stretching and tearing of skin and tissue when the foetus moves through the vaginal canal.
- In unusual cases, if there is excessive damage to the tissues which causes a risk of incontinence; complete loss of bladder control and bowel function. It may result in leaking urine during coughing and sneezing. This takes a few months to a year even to recover from. Vaginal exercises help in this case.
- Normal delivery may increase the risk of sexual discomfort and pain post-delivery.
- Some may experience a persistent pain in the perineum which is the area between the vagina and anus.
- Since the baby has to pass the narrow birth canal, there are chances of using forceps which might give a birth trauma, collar bone fracture or bruised scalp to the baby.
C-section delivery is a surgical procedure where an incision is made through the abdominal wall and the uterus. These are off-late gaining a lot of popularity as this type of birthing method enables women to pre-plan the date of delivery. It is also opted by women who prefer a less painful labor.
However, if a woman suffers medical complications during her pregnancy C-section is always the preferred birthing method. It is also opted for when the baby is not in a heads-down position and the efforts to turn it down have been unsuccessful. The C-section delivery is the safest option when the health of the baby, mother or both is at risk.
Benefits And Risks Of A C-Section/Caesarean Delivery
- A C-section delivery reduces the stress and anxiety for the woman during childbirth as it enables mental preparation and planning well before the labor.
- There are minimal chances of urine incontinence as the baby is removed directly through the uterus and not the birth canal.
- As the usage of forceps is minimal, there are less chances of any trauma/injury to the baby at the time of delivery.
- A woman who undergoes a caesarean delivery usually spends an additional 2-4 days in the hospital post-delivery compared to normal delivery.
- The probability to experience pain and infection at the incision site is high and may result in longer-lasting soreness.
Since C-section is a surgical process, it may involve a large amount of blood loss and formation of blood clots.
- Once a woman undergoes a C-section, she is more likely to have the same in her future deliveries and possess the risk of having pregnancy complications due to the previous delivery.
Regardless of the birthing method chosen, a woman must be aware and informed about all the delivery pros and cons. It is best to voice how one feels about a delivery process so that the best option can be chosen for a safe delivery if a choice is possible.