FACTS ABOUT NORMAL VS C-SECTION DELIVERY, ALL WOMEN MUST KNOW
Babies can enter this world in one of two ways: Pregnant women can have either a vaginal birth or a surgical delivery by Caesarean section, but the ultimate goal is to safely give birth to a healthy baby.
In some cases, C-sections are planned because of medical reasons that make a vaginal birth risky. A woman may know in advance that she will need a C-section and schedule it because she is expecting twins or other multiples, or because the mother may have a medical condition, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, an infection that complicates pregnancy, such as HIV or herpes, or she may be experiencing problems with the placenta during her pregnancy.
Pros for mother:
From a psychological standpoint, women who go through with a vaginal delivery are said to have a more positive birthing experience. Women who go through vaginal delivery sometimes feel it is empowering to know they were actively involved in the process. Mothers who deliver through vaginal birth have a shorter recovery time than those who opt for C-sections. This method of birthing also allows the mother and baby to make skin to skin contact immediately after delivery, speeding up the bonding process.
Pros for baby:
One advantage for the baby of a vaginal delivery is that a mother will have more early contact with her baby than a woman who has undergone surgery, and she can initiate breastfeeding sooner, Bryant said.
During a vaginal delivery, muscles involved in the process are more likely to squeeze out fluid found in a newborn’s lungs, Bryant said, which is a benefit because it makes babies less likely to suffer breathing problems at birth. Babies born vaginally also receive an early dose of good bacteria as they travel through their mother’s birth canal, which may boost their immune systems and protect their intestinal tracts.
Cons for mother:
Vaginal delivery can be stressful as you will not be completely sure how long your delivery will take. Some deliveries are short while others take hours depending on each case. Having a baby delivered the natural way leaves the mother waiting for the big day to come, making the planning process for a baby’s arrival more complicated.
Cons for baby:
If a woman has had a long labor or if the baby is large and delivered vaginally, the baby may get injured during the birth process itself, such as having a bruised scalp or a fractured collarbone, according to the Stanford School of Medicine.
Pros for mother:
There are not a lot of advantages to having a C-section if a woman is eligible to have a vaginal delivery, Bryant said.
However, if a pregnant woman knows that she will need a C-section, a surgical birth can be scheduled in advance, making it more convenient and predictable than a vaginal birth and going through a long labor.
Cons for mother:
A woman who has had a C-section typically stays in the hospital longer, two to four days on average, compared with a woman who has a vaginal delivery. Having a C-section also increases a woman’s risk for more physical complaints following delivery, such as pain at the site of the incision and longer-lasting soreness.
Because a woman is undergoing surgery, a C-section involves an increased risk of blood loss and a greater risk of infection, Bryant said. The bowel or bladder can be injured during the operation or a blood clot may form, she said.
A review study found that women who have had a C-section are less likely to begin early breastfeeding than women who had a vaginal birth.
The recovery period after delivering is also longer because a woman may have more pain and discomfort in her abdomen as the skin and nerves surrounding her surgical scar need time to heal, often at least two months.
Women are three times more likely to die during Caesarean delivery than a vaginal birth, due mostly to blood clots, infections and complications from anesthesia, according to a French study.
Once a woman has had her first C-section, she is more likely to have a C-section in her future deliveries, Bryant said. She may also be at greater risk of future pregnancy complications, such as uterine rupture, which is when the C-section scar in her uterus ruptures, and placenta abnormalities. The risk for placenta problems continues to increase with every C-section a woman has.
Cons for baby:
Some babies have respiratory problems when delivered by C-section. Some doctors claim that C-sections cause complications like problems with anesthesia or possibly nicking the baby. These risks during delivery are very low but are factors each expectant mother should be aware of.
Overall, there are significant factors that affect the decision to choose your option, and the choice is yours to make. Of course, in cases where a c-section is necessary for the health of the mother and baby, (such as high risk of passing sexually transmitted viruses or complications from fetal distress) the procedure will be carried out even if a natural birth is preferred.