Vaginal Birth Vs. Cesarean Section: Which One Is Better For You?
When it comes to childbirth, we all want the same thing: the baby to come out. It’s sometimes a personal decision, and other times it’s a medical need, how we do it.
There are some significant distinctions to consider, as well as questions you should ask your doctor if you’re pregnant and trying to determine vaginal delivery vs. cesarean section, commonly known as a C-section, is best for you.
Each birthing option is discussed on this page, the related healing and recovery timeframes, and its problems. We also spoke with two ladies who had both a C-section and a vaginal birth to give you a better idea of what it’s like in the delivery room.
Vaginal delivery vs. Cesarean section
This article defines natural birth as a vaginal delivery with or without pain medication or other medical assistance.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, vaginal deliveries result in shorter hospital stays, reduced injection rates, and faster recovery. Some mothers deliver their babies without medical assistance, while others may require or seek assistance. These may include the following:
- Pitocin is a hormone that is used to start labor.
- A surgical incision to let the baby’s head pass through without damaging the skin.
- An amniotomy is a procedure in which the amniotic membranes are artificially ruptured.
- A suction extraction or forceps delivery.
Pros of Vaginal Delivery:
- When compared to C-sections, vaginal deliveries usually result in shorter hospital stays and recuperation durations. Although state regulations differ, Bryant told Live Science that the usual length of a hospital stay following a vaginal delivery is 24 to 48 hours. Still, it might be less than the state’s authorized time limit.
- Vaginal deliveries generally avoid the dangers of significant surgery, such as serious bleeding, scars, infections, anesthetic responses, and long-term discomfort. Because no significant surgery is required, a woman may be able to start nursing her baby sooner.
- According to Bryant, a baby born vaginally will have greater early interaction with their mother, who will be able to start nursing sooner than if she had a C-section.
- According to Stanford Children’s Health, if the mother has had a long labor or large baby, the newborn may be injured during the vaginal birth process, resulting in a bruising scalp or a shattered neck.
Cons of Vaginal Delivery
- Laboring and delivering a baby vaginally is a lengthy and physically demanding procedure. According to the maternal-and-baby-health group March of Dimes, first-time moms spend between four and eight hours in active labor, when their cervix is completely dilated and their body urges them to push.
- The skin and tissues around the vagina might stretch and rip during a vaginal delivery as the fetus travels through the birth canal. Severe ripping and stretching may necessitate sutures. The pelvic muscles that control urine and bowel movements may become weak or injured due to straining and tearing.
- Pain in the perineum, the region between the vagina and the anus, may persist after vaginal birth.
- According to Stanford Children’s Health, if a mother has had a long labor or the baby is big, the infant may be harmed during the vaginal birth process, resulting in a bruised scalp or a fractured collarbone.
The alternative delivery option is a C-section, a surgical operation that removes the baby from the mother when a vaginal birth isn’t possible or desired. A C-section might be planned or necessitated by medical necessity.
While cesarean births aren’t as prevalent as vaginal deliveries, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists claims some circumstances need it. These are some of them:
- Concerns about the baby’s health.
- Becoming pregnant with several children
- There are issues with the placenta.
- The labor isn’t moving forward as quickly as it should.
- The infant is huge.
- Presentation of the breech
- Infections or diseases in the mother, such as high blood pressure or diabetes.
Pros of Cesarean section
- If a woman is fearful about giving birth vaginally, she may opt for a C-section.
- When compared to vaginal deliveries, women who undergo C-sections had a lower risk of urine incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse.
- A surgical delivery is more convenient and predictable than a vaginal birth and labor because it may be arranged ahead of time.
- A C-section can save the lives of the baby or the mother.
Cons of Cesarean section
- C-sections, on average, need two to four days in the hospital, compared to one to two days for vaginal births. Because the skin and nerves surrounding the surgical scar require time to heal, the recovery period is longer, and there may be greater pain and discomfort in the abdomen.
- According to the National Health Service of the United Kingdom, a C-section increases the chance of post-delivery complications such as discomfort or infection at the incision site, as well as longer-lasting soreness.
- According to Bryant, a C-section increases the risk of blood loss since the intestines or bladder might be damaged, or a blood clot can develop during the procedure.
- According to a 2012 research published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, women with a C-section are less likely to start breastfeeding early than women who had a vaginal delivery.
- According to a 2006 research published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology, women are three times more likely to die following a cesarean birth than vaginal birth due to blood clots, infections, and anaesthetic problems.
- According to Bryant, once a woman has had a C-section, she is more likely to have another one in the future. Future pregnancy problems, such as placental abnormalities and uterine rupture, which occurs when the uterus breaks along the scar line from a prior C-section, may also be increased.
- According to a 2019 research published in the journal Allergy, Asthma & Clinical Immunology, babies born by C-section are more likely to develop respiratory difficulties at birth and even during childhood, such as asthma.
Make an appointment with your doctor during your prenatal appointments if you have any queries regarding vaginal delivery vs. cesarean section. They can assist you in determining which choice is the greatest fit for you.
Making a birth plan that specifies your labor and delivery objectives might assist you in preparing for childbirth. The final aim is to deliver a healthy baby, whether by vaginal birth or a C-section.