Childbirth is a life-changing experience. And first-time mothers might have their concerns about giving birth. After all, it’s about bringing a new life into this world! To top it, there is this whole C-section vs Natural birth debate. So which one should you choose?
The simple answer is that giving birth naturally or via a Caesarean section depends on what is best for the mother and the child. While some mothers prefer a Natural or Vaginal birth, sometimes a C-section can be recommended by the doctor. It is also not uncommon for some mothers to voluntarily choose to give birth via a C-section. The reasons for a planned or emergency C-section include:
Twins or multiple babies
The mother has diabetes, high blood pressure, or an infection
The baby is not in the correct position for a vaginal birth, i.e. the head-down position
Any other medical complications
So, C-section or Vaginal birth?
Which one is better, you ask? The better one is the one that safely brings your baby into the world. Being aware of how each type of birth works is the best way to prepare yourself for what lies ahead.
Vaginal birth or Natural birth
This is the method in which the baby is born naturally through the vaginal canal. Once the labor sets in, the uterine contractions start. They feel like very intense and painful menstrual cramps. Due to these contractions, the baby naturally moves downwards, headfirst. Labor and delivery can last from a few hours to up to 14 hours for first-time mothers.
Due to the pain associated, some women choose to take an epidural or some form of painkillers. In such cases, the uterine contractions continue, but the labor pains are not felt or are dulled. Remember that whether you take an epidural or not is completely your choice and should only depend on whether your gynecologist feels it’s safe.
After a vaginal birth, the hospital stay is usually short. Since no anesthetics are involved, the mother is completely in her senses when the baby is born and can immediately hold the baby and start nursing. Some studies suggest that when the baby travels to the birth canal, she is exposed to the good bacteria which boosts immunity.
A C-section birth involves a spinal block or an anesthetic to numb your senses below the waist region. The doctor then makes a horizontal incision just below the bikini line. The incision can be between 4 to 6 inches. This exposes the uterus in which the baby is present. Another horizontal incision is made on the uterus and the baby is taken out.
The baby is cleaned up while the surgeon takes out the umbilical cord and placenta and stitches the incisions. The entire procedure can be done in 45 minutes. The mother feels groggy after the surgery due to the effect of the anesthesia.
If the C-section is planned, the birth is more predictable and the mother has enough time to prepare for the birth. The entire birthing from start to finish is quicker than a vaginal birth. Due to the effect of the anesthesia, the actual birth is relatively painless. However, the hospital stay can be longer.
No one method of birthing is better than the other. However, it is important for expecting mothers to be aware of the process of birth, the advantages, and the risks involved. Since every pregnancy is unique, it is best to speak to your gynaecologist about which method works best for you and also discuss emergency procedures if at all they are required.
This discussion can help relieve some pre-birth stress. It also makes you take informed decisions when the time to give birth comes. Always involve your partner or a trusted family member in these discussions with the gynaecologist.
Giving birth can feel like a daunting task. But when you hold the baby in your arms, the pain during childbirth feels like it was worth it. How you give birth does not make you any less of a mother. Choosing the best for yourself and your baby is always the right decision.
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