An integral part of preparing for the arrival of your baby is making a birth plan. A birth plan includes talking about alternatives and options about the best OB-GYN and hospital, choosing between a midwife and a doctor and between natural birth and a C-section.
Since years, there has been a debate going on between a C-section and natural birth, which has left many women confused and tensed. There is a demographic of women who believe that C-section should never be elective, and should always be considered as the last resort, while there are others who consider C-section a more desirable option. To know what is the best option for themselves, women require reliable information so that they can make an informed decision. Read ahead to weigh all the advantages and disadvantages of both normal delivery and c-section for the mother and the baby.
Advantages and disadvantages of vaginal delivery
For the mother
The process of natural birth is lengthy and it can be physically enervating and is a lot of work for the mother. But it’s the biggest advantage perhaps is a shorter stay at the hospital and a shorter recovery period. Generally, the time period for stay is standardized between 24 to 48 hours. Women who prefer natural births over C-sections usually do so to steer clear of excessive bleeding, scarring, reactions to anesthesia, infections, and long-lasting pain. This enables a quicker recovery and helps them to hold the baby and start breastfeeding sooner.
However, vaginal births have their own limitations too. In some cases, during childbirth, the tissues around the vagina are strained so much that the woman might need stitches. This can lead to injury to pelvic muscles and weakness, and inability to control urine (urinary leakage) and bowel movements. Some studies speculate that women who undergo natural childbirth are more likely to develop urinary incontinence and might be prone to urine leakage while laughing or coughing. For some time after vaginal birth, a woman also experiences a lingering pain in the area between her anus and vagina, called the perineum.
For the baby
One of the biggest pros of vaginal birth is a speedier recovery which enables the mother to have contact with the baby at an earlier stage as compared to a woman who has undergone surgery and can begin breastfeeding sooner. In the process of natural birth, the muscle movements squeeze the fluid present in the baby’s lungs.
One of the risks about natural birth is that long labor can injure the baby and can cause a bruised scalp or a fractured collarbone.
Advantages and disadvantages of C-section
For the mother
A woman who is eligible for a natural birth cannot avail of all the benefits of a C-section. However, a woman who already knows that she will require a C-section can make the process more predictable and convenient by scheduling everything in advance.
But then again, C-section has its own limitations as well. After the entire procedure, the mother has to stay in the hospital for at least two to three days. It also elevates the chances of physical issues like infections, pain, and soreness at the site of the incision. The period of recovery after the procedure is longer and this can cause pain and rave discomfort in the abdomen. In most cases, the surgical scar takes at least 2 months to heal.
Because it is a surgical method, C-section comes along with a risk of loss of blood and weakness. There are many studies that make it evident that a woman who has undergone C-section cannot begin breastfeeding early. Also, undergoing a C-section puts a woman at risk of future pregnancy complications like uterine rupture and problems with the placenta.
For the baby
It’s a common observation that babies born with a C-section have problems with breathing at the time of birth and develop problems like asthma later in life as well. There is also a heightened chance of stillbirth. In a c-section, there is also a risk that the baby might get nicked during the surgery.
Also, for unclear reasons, there is a connection between obese children and C-sections. One of the speculations for this is that diabetic mothers or women who are overweight are more likely to go for C-sections.
For women with medical conditions, it is always a better option to plan a C-section in advance to have an alternative and avoid any complications at the time of childbirth. However, planning doesn’t guarantee the elimination of all risks. Even the most precisely planned C-sections can go wrong.