From the very moment you found out that you are pregnant, thoughts of giving birth will always be on your mind. Well, that is the whole point of these special nine months in your life - bringing your sweet little baby into this world.
Most women find the entire idea of childbirth extraordinarily frightful especially if it is their first baby. Others consider it to be exciting, while others see it as just mysterious.
No matter how you see it, you should know that your body has been built to handle it almost seamlessly and with the many methods of birthing available, you're sure to pick one that really works for you. But to be able to make that choice, you need to be fully informed. One of the accepted aspects of medical care today is the Patient choice, and as such, in this article, we'll be highlighting all you need to know about natural birth and c-section so that you can make an informed choice yourself.
Although according to sources in the U.S. 30.2% of all babies are born via cesarean surgery, the current information from National Vital Statistics Reports points out that there has been a continuous reduction in cesarean delivery rate in 2015. The declination was observed for women for all age groups and for non-Hispanic white and Hispanic women.
The question now is, why the reduction? Are women really informed before making their choices?
Well, in this article we'll be talking fully about the pros and cons of these two methods of delivery both for the mothers and the baby.
Pros of Natural Birth for Mothers
- Offers a more natural birthing experience
Vaginal birth is the more natural way to give birth, and this is more like a natural experience for the mother than the C-section. According to most women, there is a certain sense of empowerment and accomplishment that comes with it. Being part of the entire delivery process as they help push the baby through their birth canal.
- Shorter hospital stay and quicker recovery
Compared to those who give birth through C-section, women who give birth vaginally recover quicker and as such leave the hospital fast. Within 24 to 48 hours, the mother is allowed to leave the hospital and start bonding with her baby immediately after delivery.
- Less risks involved
Based on the health risks associated with c-section delivery process, World Health Organization (WHO) has suggested that the target rate internationally should be half of the current cesarean section rate in the US which as of 2014 was 32.2%
With natural birth, most of the major health risks that are sometimes associated with the cesarean section are avoided. Other potential effects associated with surgery are also avoided, such as scarring, severe bleeding, reactions, pain, and infection. Also, there's a decreased risk of issues like maternal hemorrhage, damage to internal organs, and blood clots.
- With natural birth, you can have as many kids as you please.
Cons of Natural Birth for Mothers
- Risk of tears
During a natural birth the mother may experience stretching and skin tears, and despite how that sounds, it can turn out to be very severe resulting in the need for stitches or weakness of the pelvic muscles. Also leading to lingering pain or urine and bowel problems.
- Added stress
The fact that there may be complications during labor and delivery, the uncertainty of the entire natural birth process give some women the chills, not knowing if they'll even have enough strength to push - this fear may result to anxiety and emotional turmoil which may affect the process.
- Stress can result in long hours of labor
Aside from the fact that labor hurts like well... nothing, the process can get even worse when the mother is in distress as a result of the stress and pain, making the natural birth process last through a very long period of time.
- The tailbone can be easily injured during childbirth and women with vaginal deliveries have higher rates of experiencing urinary incontinence than women with c-sections.
Pros of Natural Birth for Babies
- As the baby passes through the birth canal, fluid is squeezed from the lungs of the baby which makes them less likely to develop a temporary lung condition called transient tachypnea of the neonate (TTN).
- The baby also gets exposed to beneficial bacteria in the birth canal which in turn makes them less likely to develop asthma and food allergies.
- Natural birth babies tend to have less medical complication, they breathe sooner, have less respiratory and allergy problems.
Cons of Natural Birth for Babies
- Natural birth babies may encounter the risk of oxygen deprivation as a result of umbilical cord compression or other trauma that can occur as the baby passes through the birth canal.
- In a situation where the baby is large, and labor lasts for longer hours, the baby may get injured in the process, having bruised scalp or even a fractured collarbone.
Pros of C-Section for Mothers
Since planned C-sections are usually scheduled ahead of time, it tends to more convenient for women with less stress and anxiety about the process as compared to labor.
- Healthier for Large Babies and Twins
In cases of twins or large babies, a C-section has been observed in most cases to be a healthier and safer, avoiding possible complications that would occur if it were through natural birth.
- Healthier for some diseases
In cases where the mother has STDs such as HIV, herpes, hepatitis, etc., a C-section becomes a better alternative.
- Reduce the risks associated with natural birth
Risk such as damaging of the pelvic floor and a C-section also eliminate the long hours of hard labor experienced in vaginal birth.
And it also reduces the risk of possible incontinence.
Cons of C-Section for Mothers
The fact is, at the primal level, this is the cutting open of the body, and sometimes one might feel betrayed or violated if not well informed about the reason of the process.
- Longer Hospital Stay and Recovery time
With two to four days being the average stay after a C-section, mothers who went through the natural birth process will already be at home breastfeeding and bonding with their babies by then. Recovery may sometimes take longer as there could be longer lasting physical pain and soreness which will take even more time to heal.
- Risk of Surgical Complications
Every surgical procedure comes with some kind of risk, and here the risk is focused on both the mother and the baby. Complications might occur and so can death.
- Future Deliveries
According to stats, 57% of mothers with a previous cesarean were denied a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean).
Mothers who deliver through a C-section are more likely to have C-section for future deliveries which in turn put her at even higher risk of future pregnancy complications.
Pros of C-Section for Babies
Potential risks such as oxygen deprivation are out of the picture during C-section. Like pointed out earlier, it is better for large babies and moms with infectious diseases.
Cons of C-Section for Babies
There's a higher chance of respiratory problem as the baby may likely develop asthma later in life.
C-section babies also face the risk of having a lower Apgar score; this is a test designed to evaluate the baby's physical condition immediately after delivery.
Stillbirth is also that might likely occur here and according to research, the odds of neonatal death (when a baby dies within the first 28 days of life) is higher in a planned C-section than with natural birth.
Cost Comparison between Natural Birth and C Section
The cost of an elective cesarean is more expensive than that of a natural birth. And the fact remains that not all insurance carriers cover planned c-sections. According to a report by castlighthealth.com most expensive (average price) for routine vaginal delivery in the city of Sacramento, CA is $15,420 while for cesarean delivery is $27,067. On the other hand, the lowest price observed for routine vaginal delivery (San Diego, CA) is $3,243 while for cesarean delivery (Pittsburgh, PA) it is $4,419.
No matter the option you want to opt for, now you'll be making an informed decision, and when you finally give birth to your little pumpkin, first, your hormones will take it as a shock to the system and run amok. And at this very point in time, it is perfectly natural for mothers to burst into tears for no good reason - now I say Congratulation.
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