Choosing Between a Normal Delivery & a C-Section Delivery
Birth of a baby is an exciting and amazing process. The journey of an expectant mother from pregnancy to giving life to a newborn and holding the tiny one in her arms is an unbelievable experience in itself.
A newborn may enter the mortal world through a vaginal birth (normal delivery) or via Caesarean section (surgical delivery). Eventually, the purpose of both these delivery methods is the safe delivery of a baby.
Difference between Normal Delivery and Caesarean
Normal delivery, also known as vaginal birth is the process of having a baby through the vagina. It is the traditional birth method that takes place with or without medical assistance. In most cases, after a normal delivery, mother and baby are kept in the hospital for a period of 36 hours to 48 hours.
Caesarean or a C-section delivery is the medically approved surgical process for childbirth. In Caesarean, a tiny incision is made in the abdominal area in order to penetrate the uterus for taking the baby out. A C-section is planned in consultation with the gynaecologist and it also depends on the pregnant woman's health condition.
Which is more painful C-section or Natural Birth?
There is intense pain during a normal delivery. The labour pain or delivery pain is caused due to the rapid contractions of the uterus muscles and pressure in the cervix region. This pain can be compared to unbearable cramping in the abdominal area, groin, and backside. Some women also have pain in their thighs and hip area as well.
Although there is no pain involved during a C-section, you may experience other sensations such as pulling. Women are generally numbed below the waist using anaesthesia (epidural or spinal-cord block) before the C-section operation. You may feel after-pains, that are contractions, during the initial days after a C-section. They are like menstrual cramps felt in the abdomen and vaginal area.
Is a C-section Safer than a Normal Delivery?
According to a study by the National Institutes of Health, caesarean delivery has evolved lately and is much safer for both mother and baby. Nevertheless, it is considered major surgery and does involve many risk factors. For example, the recovery time-frame is longer in a C-section when compared to normal delivery. The surgery may lower the chances of having a vaginal birth in the future.
Delivery of a baby depends on several underlying medical conditions. While normal delivery is the preferred method, at the end of the day, the doctor or gynaecologist is the best person to suggest as to which is a safer delivery procedure to be adopted (depending on the health condition of the foetus and pregnant woman).
Advantages of Normal Delivery
- Shorter duration of recovery time when compared with a caesarean delivery
- Hospital stay for the mother and baby is cut down by a day or two
- Less risk of infections and no risk of anaesthesia induced side-effects
- No abdominal scarring and no long-lasting abdominal or vaginal pain
- Mother can breastfeed the baby almost immediately
- Freedom of movement after labour
- The child or baby have been known to have extra diverse gut flora
- Less risk of the baby contracting adult diseases
- Mother can have a quick recovery and resume some of her normal activities
Disadvantages of Normal Delivery
- Risk of stretching or tearing of the skin and surrounding tissue of the vagina when the baby is moving through the canal
- Severe tearing may require stitches to prevent grave injury to the pelvic muscles
- The weakened pelvic muscles may trigger incontinence in the bowel or urinary functions
- Some women feel pain in the perineum region
- Natural childbirth can mean a prolonged labour
C-section V/S Natural Birth Weight Loss
Losing baby weight after a C-section can be difficult as the recovery time is longer and there are numerous restrictions that need to be followed diligently. Women suffering from gestational diabetes or obesity do not lose weight easily after a C-section operation.
C-section V/S Natural Birth Statistics
A study that was conducted in the year 2012 in India to compare the statistics linked with caesarean birth and vaginal birth among expectant mothers. It was seen that the prevalence of C-section was higher with 65% over vaginal births (at 35%).
When to Go for C-Section Delivery
- Prolonged labour wherein labour is not progressing well and labour is stalled
- Abnormal position of the baby and there are chances of a breech baby
- Baby is not getting oxygen, also known as foetal distress
- Foetal diagnosed with specific birth defects
- The chronic health condition of the expectant mother
- When the baby is big and healthy, and expectant mother is detected with a small pelvis
While choosing between a normal delivery and a C-section, it is always best to follow the advice of your gynaecologist and reach a mutual decision, one that is a safe and healthy choice for you and your baby.
What is better normal delivery or C section?
Every pregnancy is different with diverse underlying factors, so only a professional medical expert can suggest what is better for the mother and the baby.
What are the benefits of natural birth?
Faster recovery, early breastfeeding and lesser time spent in hospital are some of the main benefits of natural birth.
Is natural birth better for the baby?
In natural birth, the oxygen supply is high due to the presence of the stress hormones, especially during labour contractions. And the baby can be breastfed immediately after a normal delivery.
What should I do for normal delivery?
- Exercise regularly
- Sleep for at least 8 hours daily
- Attend a childbirth class
- Have a healthy diet
- Take all medical supplements suggested by your doctor
- Do not miss on appointments with your gynaecologist
- Surround yourself with a good and caring support team
- Do not gain excessive weight
- Be mentally and physically prepared without being anxious
Is normal delivery very painful?
Giving birth is a natural and beautiful experience. Some women may feel anxious due to the anticipated pain. Nowadays, women going into labour can receive epidural (pain medication) to have relatively comfortable labour.
Book an appointment with your nearest doctor and ask about what delivery method suits you and your baby.