NATURAL BIRTH OR CESAREAN ?


Pregnancy and delivering baby is a topic that is a topic of debate. It is a topic that is always discussed by women with friends or family. What can be good and what may not be good depends upon person to person.

There can be stress and fear associated with labor and overall child birth process, but the main goal is to have a safe and healthy child birth. The health of baby and mother is what always considered to be important.

When it comes to giving birth, we all have the same goal: Get the baby out! How we accomplish that is sometimes a personal choice and other times a medical necessity.

If a woman is pregnant and you are trying to decide on which option to choose from Natural birth or cesarean delivery, there are few points that one can consider and decide and also may take help from doctor for choosing right option.

Before starting with the discussion on he options, let us see the types of options available;

  • Natural birth - Also known as Normal delivery or Vaginal Delivery.

  • Cesarean delivery - Also known as C- section or LSCS in medical terms.



  1. DEFINITION:

1.1 Natural birth : Natural birth is also known as vaginal birth ,where baby is delivered via vaginal path. This process may include medications for pain but may not include other major interventions.

Typically, vaginal births result in shorter hospital stays, lower injection rates, and quicker recovery times

Some women will deliver a baby with no medical interventions, while others may require or request some form of intervention. These may include;

  • Pitocin to induce labor

  • An Episiotomy ( Surgical incision ) to allow passing of head of baby safely and easily.

  • A 'Forcep' or ' Vaccum' for delivering baby.


1.2 Cesarean Birth: Cesarean is a surgical intervention to deliver the baby. It may include complex procedures like anaesthesia and other medicines.

when a vaginal delivery isn’t possible or not requested by the mother, C-section can be planned or medically required. The medical reasons that may be considered for planning or deciding Cesarean delivery, they are as follows;

  • medical concerns for the baby

  • being pregnant with more than one baby

  • problems with the placenta

  • labor isn’t progressing in a timely manner

  • the baby is large

  • Breech presentation

  • Maternal infection or high blood pressure or diabetes

Sometimes, natural birth is opted but the attempt is not succesful hence, cesarean delivery is selected. Few cases are also seen where normal birth option is tried by inducing labor , but due to failure cesarean is opted.





2. PROCEDURE:

2.1 Normal Delivery:

Normal delivery is performed at hospital, nursing care center or sometimes even at home. Now-a-days many women opt for home birthing with specialised supervision at home by certified child birth specialist.

Epidural or medication of pain may also be given to women in few cases.

For the normal delivery , labor has to pass through 3 stages , so broadly to say there are 3 stages of labor for delivery to happen naturally.

The 3 stages of labor are early, active and transitional.

The baby to be delivered , the cervix of woman has to be dilated at least 10cm , crowning of baby's head is then noted and baby is delivered. After baby , placenta is delivered by minor contractions.

The baby is then handed over to child specialist.

Episiotomy that is cut to the walls of vagina may be given while normal delivery to ease he process of giving birth.



2.2 Cesarean Delivery

It is quite different from a vaginal delivery. In general, a C-section is a surgical procedure that takes about 45 minutes, whereas a vaginal birth can take hours. For this type of birth, your doctor will make an incision through your abdomen and uterus to remove your baby.

Once baby is out, your doctor will cut the umbilical cord, remove the placenta, and close the incision.

After a cesarean delivery, your medical team may need to check your baby and clear their airway before allowing you to hold your baby. While you’ll be united as soon as possible after birth, it may not be immediate like in a vaginal delivery.


3. RECOVERY AND HEALING : NATURAL BIRTH VS CESAREAN BIRTH :

As per doctors, it takes almost 6 weeks for proper recovery and healing of the body after delivery procedure.

6 weeks is the period required for the body to take rest and heal and help back in normal routine. However, it may vary depending upon the condition and health of female.

Different moms experience different levels of post-operative soreness. Most women stay in the hospital for 24-48 hours after a vaginal birth.

Postpartum side effects may include vaginal bleeding, cramping, swelling, soreness, and more. New moms should take it easy for at least a few weeks after vaginal delivery.

Also, if episiotomy was performed while normal delivery then the healing time may go upto 6 weeks. It may cause pain or slight difficulty in day to day activities.

If you have a C-section, side effects tend to be more severe. You may feel a little nauseated and weak during the first day; coughing, sneezing, and laughing may cause pain.

However, you would be gradually encouraged to get up and walk around. Discharge is usually given after 5 to 6 days depending upon the condition of the women.

Although the pain will linger for a while, you'll probably be back to your old self in about a month to six weeks.

In the first few weeks, you may notice that the scar may become itchy and painful.

This is part of the healing process. You may also experience mild cramping, bleeding, or discharge for about 4 to 6 weeks. Your doctor will reassess your progress at your 6-week appointment to determine what activities you can resume.


3.1 Which recovery is better ?

In general, the healing and recovery time for a vaginal birth is often significantly faster than that of a C-section. That said, some women experience the opposite.

So, it depends upon the condition of woman and overall health and fitness. Few females have reported the experiences of both normal and vaginal delivery, and have mixed reviews for each of the type of delivery. Like few females say that they recovered better after normal delivery and few others felt better after cesarean delivery.

So many a times it depends upon the health and overall condition of woman.


4. RISKS AND COMPLICATIONS

Both vaginal deliveries and C-sections come with risks and potential complications. Women who deliver vaginally can experience perineal tears or need an episiotomy that requires stitches and several weeks of healing time.

And similarly to other major surgeries, a cesarean has potential risks and complications.

problems can occur with infection, blood loss, blood clots, injury to the bowel or bladder, and reactions to the anesthesia or medication.





5. PROS AND CONS OF TYPE OF DELIVERY:

5.1 Pros of vaginal birth for the mother:

Going through labor and having a vaginal delivery is a long process that can be physically grueling and is hard work for the mother. But one of the benefits of having a vaginal birth is that it has a shorter hospital stay and recovery time compared with a C-section.

the typical length of a hospital stay for a woman following a vaginal delivery is between 24 and 48 hours.

Women who undergo vaginal births avoid having major surgery and its associated risks, such as severe bleeding, scarring, infections, reactions to anesthesia and more longer-lasting pain. And because a mother will be less woozy from surgery, she could hold her baby and may begin breastfeeding sooner after she delivers.

5.2 Cons of vaginal birth for the mother:

During a vaginal delivery, there is a risk that the skin and tissues around the vagina can stretch and tear while the fetus moves through the birth canal. If stretching and tearing is severe, a woman may need stitches or this could cause weakness or injury to pelvic muscles that control her urine and bowel function.

Some studies have found that women who have delivered vaginally are more likely to have problems with bowel or urinary incontinence than women who have had C-sections.

After a vaginal delivery, a woman may also experience lingering pain in the perineum, the area between her vagina and anus.

5.3 Pros and cons of vaginal birth for the baby:

During a vaginal delivery, muscles involved in the process are more likely to squeeze out fluid found in a newborn's lungs, which is beneficial 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.

If a woman has had a long labor or if the baby is large and delivered vaginally, one of the risks is that the baby may get injured during the birth process itself, resulting in a bruised scalp or a fractured collarbone, according to the Stanford School of Medicine.

5.4 Pros of C-section for the mother:

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.

5.5 Cons of C-section for the mother:

A woman who has 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 or infection 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.

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.

5.6 Pros and cons of C-section for the baby :

Babies born by Caesarean section may be more likely to have breathing problems at birth and even during childhood, such as asthma. They may also be at greater risk for stillbirth.

During a C-section, there is a small risk that a baby can get nicked during the surgery.

Some studies have also suggested a link between babies delivered by C-section and a greater risk of becoming obese as children and as adults. One possible explanation is that women who are obese or have pregnancy-related diabetes may be more likely to have a C-section.





6. CHOICES TO MAKE :

If you’re thinking about having a baby, it’s important to get guidance from a qualified health care professional. Choose a provider who makes your feel comfortable and who will work with you to have a healthy pregnancy right from the start.

A growing number of women are choosing to partner with a midwife, for gynecological care, family planning, birth control, prenatal care, labor and delivery care, and postpartum care. The midwife provides one-on-one coaching and support throughout your pregnancy and after.

A choice for where to have your baby is a birthing center. It can give you a comfortable, caring atmosphere for your labor and delivery. A birthing center can be a homey place to welcome your new family member.

If you’re planning a baby or expecting and have any questions about the process, be sure to visit with your health care provider.

A lot of younger people nowadays are electing to have a C-section because they don’t want urinary continence, they don’t want their vaginal supports coming down, fecal incontinence; those are things you can see with vaginal births and not cesareans.

In some cases, a C-section is unavoidable, or at the very least, it’s the least risky option.

So to make choice regarding type of delivery, it is very important to understand the pregnancy and decision has to be made by the couple.

Also, consultation of doctor is needed which would give proper insight to the health and overall condition of the woman.


7. CONCLUSION:

Pregnancy and delivery of baby are important aspect of a woman's life. As the decision of becoming parent is dependent on the couple, same way how to deliver the child is also an important decision that the couple has to decide.

Natural birth or cesarean delivery both type of procedures have their own pros and cons and associated risks. The doctor is the key member who would help in deciding the process. Many studies say that vaginal delivery has lesser risks compared to cesarean delivery, however, it doesn't mean that cesarean delivery is harmful. It is dependent upon couple and their doctor.

This article gives an overview of procedure, pros, cons and other factors associated the procedure of delivery. So it can be helpful to decide the correct option.




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