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Women opt for C-section delivery since they are worried about the pain that accompanies a vaginal birth. Since a caesarean procedure holds the promise of lesser pain and ease of delivery, it is becoming the first choice for mothers and doctors. However, there are many benefits of natural birth for the baby and the mother. We often forget that a woman’s body has been designed to handle a normal delivery and choosing natural childbirth can be a wonderful choice.
Benefits of Vaginal (Normal) Delivery
For the Mother
For ages, women have been delivering babies through the vagina. Birthing is a natural experience and is certainly one of the many pros of natural childbirth. Here are a few more:
- Faster recovery time:
Mothers who choose natural childbirth recover much faster than those from a C-section. They can generally stand up within a few hours of the delivery and walk around without support. During childbirth, hormones called endorphins are released in the body. These prove to be pain-relieving and help the body in dealing with pain. As compared to this, a caesarean section can take up to 4 to 5 weeks to heal and even six months for the internal stitches to heal completely and needs medical attention throughout this period.
- Better connected to the entire process:
In a vaginal delivery, drugs are not used to induce pain or reduce the discomfort. The mother is therefore conscious and aware of the proceedings, thus relate closely to the entire experience of birthing. Medications can detach a mother from the process and she may not experience her first interaction with her baby.
- Hospital stay is short:
The mother can be discharged within a couple of days of her delivery if she chooses natural childbirth. This can turn out to be financially viable for those who cannot afford a longer stay at the hospital. C-sections need a minimum of three to four days stay at the hospital under medical observation.
- Minimum pain:
Since there is no large incision or cuts that need to be healed, there is less pain in a normal delivery.
- No infections or complications:
There are fewer chances of the mother contracting any infection in a vaginal birth. However, caesarean delivery can lead to infection of the wound and of the uterus lining or urinary tract. Also, cases of adhesion are higher in a C-section, where the internal organs stick or fuse together.
- No risk of anaesthesia:
A normal delivery needs LOCAL anaesthesia (LA) and this eliminates the risk associated with spinal and general anaesthesia. Nausea, low blood pressure, headache and even nerve damages are common side effects of anaesthesia during a C-section. Anaesthesia is a critical part of any surgical procedure and could lead to aspiration if not done properly.
- Immediate Post-partum care:
Women who opt for vaginal childbirth are able to bounce back almost immediately. They can begin with body massages or rejuvenating baths without having to care for an external wound. Quicker postpartum care helps mothers to regain their body shape and strength, reduce back pain and provides better production of milk too. Females who have surgically delivered their babies will have to wait for the wound to fully heal before starting on post-delivery care.
- Does not impact future pregnancies:
A vaginal delivery ensures that your future pregnancies are not affected in any way. There are no uterine scars or placental previa to worry about which result from a C-section. Tearing of uterine scars is a risk a mother will have if her previous delivery has been a C-section. A woman who has one C-section birth is more likely to deliver the same way in her next delivery. (however, there have been cases of normal delivery after Caesarean section)
For the Baby
Vaginal childbirth is not only beneficial for the mother but for the child too. Here’s how:
- Lower risk of respiratory issues:
When the baby passes through the birth canal, the baby’s thorax gets compressed. This helps to clear the amniotic fluid from the chest region. During natural labour, the baby’s lungs get clear due to the hormones released and its movement through the birth canal. The risk of respiratory problems is greatly reduced since both these actions prepare the lungs to breathe air naturally.
- Natural protection from illnesses:
Babies born vaginally get microbiome, a protective bacterium that is passed on by their mothers when they traverse the birth canal. It protects the baby from a number of illnesses and also helps it to build a powerful immune system.
- Zero side-effects of anaesthesia:
Vaginal deliveries do not need anaesthesia and this eliminates any side effects the baby may face.
- Breastfeeding is not delayed:
Mothers who deliver through C-section are unable to feed the baby immediately after the delivery. They need time to recover themselves from the surgery. They are unable to assume a comfortable position due to the surgery, and this delays the first breastfeeding session. In natural childbirth, a mother can feed her baby almost immediately. The baby’s urge to suckle is at its peak during the first 2-3 hours. It also allows the baby to latch on properly without any delay.
- Better APGAR Score:
An APGAR scoring test is a newborn baby’s first health test. The physiological condition of the baby is assessed through this test. It checks for appearance, activity, responsiveness, breathing and heart rate. Vaginally delivered babies have a better score in this test. A C-section misses the natural stimulation a natural birthing receives and the use of anaesthesia can also cause the scores to lower.
- Babies arrive when they are ready:
Most mothers do not deliver on the exact day as told by their doctors. They are either delivered before the due date and after it too. When labour begins naturally, a mother knows that the baby is matured and is ready to come out into the real world. The vital organs of the baby like its lungs and heart are fully functional and do not need any kind of medical or external support to survive. A surgically delivered baby may be premature, especially if the due date has been wrongly arrived at.
Unless there is a medical condition and the doctor recommends a C-section, there is no reason not to opt for a normal delivery through the vagina. It is much safer than a C-section and has proved to be a practical way of childbirth. You and your baby will be in a better condition, physically and mentally after a normal delivery.