A 40-week pregnancy is a long journey for every future mama. No matter the challenges along the way, there’s nothing more rewarding than when you reach your final goal: giving birth to your beautiful and healthy baby.
Not only do women tell very different stories about their pregnancies, but something that also differs from woman to woman is their birth plan! Pushing out your baby the most common way as you know it isn’t the only way.
On one hand, sometimes your birth plan is completely your choice and you can deliver your baby according to your preferences. On the other hand, you may be led to give birth in a specific manner depending on your situation and medical state.
So, imagine this: you’re reaching the end of your third trimester and your due date is drawing to a close. The only thing that’s on your mind is how you’re going to get through labor and finally have your little boy or girl resting happily in your arms. Well, the reality of deciding whether you are going to have a natural birth or c-section (cesarean section) can definitely be challenging.
We’re here to help you make the best decision for you and your baby!
What is a Natural Birth?
First, let’s cover the basics. Natural childbirth is vaginal labor and delivery with limited or no medical intervention at all. This option still requires you to make a lot of choices, so it’s good to ask yourself questions such as:
- Would you rather deliver at a hospital or at home?
- Do you prefer to work with a midwife or OB-GYN?
- Do you want to give birth in the typical position or would you like to opt for a different position (kneeling, leaning against something)?
- Which drug-free methods of pain relief would you prefer?
Of course, going into labor may not be a piece of cake no matter if it is a vaginal birth or not. But to consider whether you would prefer a natural childbirth, let’s take a look at the benefits.
- You’ll be able to build a strong bond with family and friends during your birth. The constant support will create an amazing and safe environment and make your delivery a memory that will last forever. The people around you during the birth will also create a special bond with your baby from your first contraction until your last push!
- We’ve all heard of the magic around skin-on-skin contact, and it ain’t no joke! Having immediate skin-on-skin contact will help you build a bond with your baby which will give you a better chance of success with breastfeeding.
- If you aren’t receiving any medication for pain relief, you won’t lose any sensation. This will help you push more effectively until your baby’s born.
- Finally, you’ll be so proud of how strong you are!!! Going through natural births may be testing your strength but you will feel so empowered after your delivery. No matter how you choose to deliver, you will feel proud of yourself, as you should be mama!
It is also important to look at both sides of natural birth and discover the risks that come along with it.
- You may be surprised by the pain you’ll be going through during labor, and you’ll feel everything. Just remember that if the pain ever gets too much to handle, you can ask your doctor to give you an epidural to help ease the pain.
- You face the risk of complications during your labor. If your baby’s heart rate drops or the cord is in a problematic state or there is any other unexpected emergency, you may have to be put under general anesthesia to help ensure safety.
What is a C-Section?
Now, on to the next form of delivery you may be considering. A C-section is also known as a cesarean section, which is the surgical delivery of a baby using incisions in the mother’s abdomen and uterus.
Even though how you give birth normally depends on your personal preference, sometimes your doctor is left no choice but to deliver your baby through a C-section. This is usually the result when it comes to medically necessary cases, high-risk pregnancies, and when the baby is in the breech position.
Why Would You Need a C-Section?
As mentioned, sometimes it is unnecessary for you to resort to this birthing method due to medical reasons. Some factors that would lead to this include:
- If you have certain medical conditions such as heart diseases, diabetes, and high blood pressure, a vaginal delivery can be dangerous and stressful to your body. These cases make C-sections the better course of action for you.
- Depending on your baby’s health, it may be tricky to get your baby through the birth canal.
- Other factors related to your baby, like the weight can have a huge impact on how you deliver your baby. If your baby is too large, it may be unsafe for them to move through the birth canal. Additionally, if your baby is overweight, you also increase the chance of getting a C-section because the labor would be long enough to pose risks otherwise.
- If your baby is in breech position. This means that your baby is feet-first or butt-first and is unable to be turned around. Keep in mind that the most safe situation is for your baby to come out head-first.
Unfortunately with a C-section, comes some risks that you may want to weigh out when considering your childbirth. Keep in mind that sometimes, you may not have the luxury of choosing and your doctor will do what is best for the health of yourself and your baby.
Risks to your baby include:
- Breathing problems. Babies who are delivered by C-section are unfortunately more likely to develop transient tachypnea. This is a breathing problem that involves your baby breathing abnormally fast during the first few days after they are born.
- Surgical injury. Just like any other major surgery, there is always the risk of accidents that can be harmful to the baby’s skin or body during the C-section.
Risks to the mother include:
- Infections. Mothers are more at risk of developing infections after giving birth to their child.
- Postpartum hemorrhage. A C-section may cause heavy bleeding or blood clots both during or after the delivery.
- Surgical injury. Just like the surgical risk to your baby, you are at risk of injuries to the bladder or bowel during a C-section. This may create a need for further surgery either immediately or in the future, and a longer recovery time.
The Bottom Line
Your pregnancy is a long journey. No matter how much you want to plan every detail to make this journey perfect, you'll come across unpredictable events that are out of your control.
Think about the future and what you want to get out of your childbirth. But remember to keep an open mind and trust that your doctor is going to do what is best for you and your baby!