Vaginal Birth Vs. C-Section Pros and Cons

Vaginal Birth vs. C-Section: Pros & Cons

Having a baby presents us with a myriad of choices. You have to decide not only for the benefit of you but also for your child. From the feeding alternatives to the nursery colors, the options are never-ending. One of the decisions of your birthing plan is to decide between Vaginal birth or C-section birth. The health of an expecting woman and her unborn baby would determine which delivery method is in the best interest of both. Women are generally confused in the never-ending debate of Vaginal birth vs. C-section.

To keep you well-informed, below are the advantages and disadvantages of both vaginal and c-section delivery.

Vaginal birth

Vaginal birth is also called natural birth because most women who previously endured it have called it a surreal natural experience. It is the most secure form of delivery and is thus preferred by both doctors and going to be mothers. 

Pros of vaginal childbirth

1. Lesser recovery time

Labor and contractions are backbreaking on a woman’s body. However, having a vaginal birth means no surgery. No matter the size of the surgery, there are always surgical complications, and surgery takes a toll on your body. Thus there is a specific recovery time for patients post-surgery. Nonetheless, with this mode of delivery, both the mother and the infant are not at risk of surgical complications. Therefore, recovery time and hospital stay are shorter.

2. Skin to skin contact

The mother can shortly hold her baby after a natural birth. Because the mother is not light-headed due to surgical drugs, she can carry and embrace her kid. Another perk is that the mother can start breastfeeding instantly after she delivers. Mothers don’t get to miss the golden hour, which is a period where the infant is naturally instinctive to latch on. Besides, instantaneous skin to skin contact after birth helps both the baby and the mother.

3. Improves respiration

The respiratory tract, especially the lungs of the fetus, is filled with free fluids. This can cause difficulties in breathing and even suffocation. During vaginal childbirth, the fluid in the infant’s lungs is squeezed out. This clears the air pathways in the lungs and avoids any respiratory problems. Furthermore, the baby also gets several good bacterias from the mother. This helps them to fight infections, enhance the immune system, and safeguards the intestinal tract.

Cons of vaginal birth

1. Post-delivery care

During the vaginal delivery, the newborn tears through the mother’s vagina, which is excruciatingly painful, and also needs medical attention. The skin tissues around the vagina should be stitched back. If not, it can hamper the functionality of bowel and urinary movements.

2. Lingering pain

Vaginal delivery is not the only time you will have to encounter pain. Most women also experience lingering pain sensations around the perineum region post-delivery. The perineum is the region connecting the vagina and anus on the skin surface. It may take some time for the pain to subdue. Also, just because there is no surgery required during vaginal delivery, it does not mean that you will not require one. This type of delivery causes a shift inside your body, resulting in your internal organs like the uterus dropping into the cervix. The mother will need surgery to repair this defect.

C-section birth

A C-section is a surgical procedure performed to deliver the baby safely. A planned C section delivery is not a choice except when the mother and the child can’t survive natural birth. Nevertheless, a small portion of the population represents optional C-section delivery. Emergency and planned C-sections are successfully performed all the time by capable surgeons.

Pros of C-section surgery

1. No pain during delivery

The mother will be under anesthesia so that she can’t feel the pain when surgeons are cutting through her stomach and delivering the baby. This beats the painful pushes and contractions the mother will go through during childbirth.  

2. Controlled environment

The delivery option is decided before birth. So if the mother is not strong enough or there are complications with the child, C-section will be scheduled. This makes childbirth convenient for the mother as it is done in a predictable and controlled environment.

Cons of C-section surgery

1. Scarring and more extended recovery period

The body needs sufficient time to recover from major surgery such as a C-section birth. This will lead to a longer recovery period, and hospital stays after childbirth. The operation will also cause scarring of tissue in your abdomen.

2. Higher risks

Risks are involved in every surgery, and during C-section birth, the mother is at a greater risk of infection, blood clots, and blood loss. It can also damage the bowels and urinary tract. The higher doses of anesthesia and clotting of blood can prove to be fatal to the mother.

3. Delayed skin-to-skin contact

After the surgery, the mother is in the recovery period. Therefore, she ends up missing the golden period and has zero strength to start nursing. This will lead to delayed skin contact with mom and also postponed breastfeeding.

4. Baby breathing problems

As mentioned above, during vaginal delivery, the free fluid from the baby’s lung is squeezed out. This does not happen during a C-section birth. The liquid in the lungs of the infant might lead to respiratory problems like asthma. This might be long-term or short term.

5. No future vaginal deliveries

Once a woman undergoes the C-section procedure, she cannot have a vaginal delivery. This is due to the C-section scars, heavy stress on the body, age, etc. This condition is called vaginal birth after C-section. Most VBAC attempts are often failures, so a standby C-section operation room is ready for any emergencies.

Be it vaginal birth or a C-section birth, both of them ultimately lead you to your child. They are equally crucial experiences in a mother’s lifetime. Whichever side you pick in the Vaginal birth vs. C-section debate, know that it may seem tough, but you got this!

Amrita Vaswani
I am a cloth diapering, baby-wearing, breastfeeding co-sleeping mother of 2 boys – now, 9 and 4 years old. Pre BDiapers, I held core marketing positions with companies such as Microsoft and Colgate Palmolive (Sydney). Bdiapers was born out of my deep passion for everything natural and sustainable and a desire to go back to the basics.
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