If you are expecting a new addition to your family sometime soon or planning to become pregnant in the near future, you may be wondering about the different birthing options available to you.
It’s important to remember that however you bring your new baby into this world, there are plenty of resources out there to help you get used to your new role as a parent. Postpartum doulas, lactation consultants, and doctors are all there to help with your transition. Additionally, you can employ a newborn care specialist to help with all of your baby care responsibilities.
Simply put, natural childbirth is the process of birthing a baby with as few medical interventions as possible. Some women will have natural childbirths at home with a trained midwife while others will have natural births in a hospital with either a midwife or obstetrician.
Pros of Natural Birth
Because natural childbirth strategies focus on minimizing medical interventions, natural birthing methods are non-invasive by nature. Birthing methods such as the Lamaze or Bradley method use specific techniques involving partner support and breath control to manage labor pains.
Many women who give birth without medical interventions experience a strong sense of empowerment after delivery. Because labor and childbirth are inherently difficult and demanding, many women feel proud of themselves if they make it through without the use of anesthesia or pain medication.
Natural childbirth sets the perfect stage for partner involvement. Because there are minimal interventions, your partner can remain with you throughout the entire process and help to manage your pain. For many women, this kind of bonding leads to a greater sense of security and comfort during one of the most trying times in her life.
Cons of Natural Child Birth
The most prominent con associated with natural birthing is the pain. Especially for first-time mothers, the pain of contractions can be quite unnerving. Because the pain associated with contractions varies from woman to woman, it is impossible to predict whether or not the laboring mother will be able to mentally handle the pains of her labor.
Because labor can become prolonged for women, particularly during natural childbirth, mental fatigue can become just as exhausting as the labor itself. It is common for women to become overwhelmed by riding the waves of contractions, and fear the time when they will have to push a baby out of their vagina. These emotions can easily become too much for the mother to handle as she is also riding waves of hormones during her labor and delivery.
Rips and Tears
Ideally, every mother will know the perfect time to push and be able to exert just the right amount of pressure to bring her baby into this world. However, it is often the case that throughout the process of delivering the new baby many women will experience rips or tears in the vaginal tissue of their birth canal. These tears will have to be stitched up at the end of labor and can be quite painful to deal with.
At the opposite end of the birthing spectrum from natural methods is the C-Section. Cesarean sections represent about a third of all births in the US and are the most medically intensive type of childbirth. During a cesarean section, a baby will be removed from the mother’s womb via an incision made in the mother’s abdomen by a trained surgeon.
Although there are times when cesarean births are unavoidable, it is most advisable to have a vaginal delivery (with or without medical interventions) whenever possible.
Pros of Cesarean Birth
Know When You’re Baby Will Be Here
Although it is a seemingly small detail, one advantage of a planned cesarean is the knowledge of when your baby will arrive. When it is known in advanced that a mother will need to give birth via cesarean, that mother can then begin to specifically plan when she wants to deliver.
Cesareans Prevent the Spread of Certain Diseases
In some cases, a mother may have a disease such as HIV or active genital herpes when she goes into labor. In these cases, it can be advantageous to have a surgical birth in order to prevent the spread of disease from mother to baby.
Cons of Cesarean-Sections
Although it may seem that cesareans are a very controlled process with little to no difficulties when compared to natural childbirth, it’s important for mothers to remember that cesareans are, in fact, a major abdominal surgery. Because your obstetrician will have to make an incision through your abdominal wall to your uterus, recovery is not an easy-going process. Mother’s can expect a large amount of pain and must look out for post-operative complications such as infection.
Breathing Troubles for Baby
Some evidence shows that babies born via cesarean section are more likely to have difficulty breathing normally directly after birth and also later on in life. Babies born this way will often need assistance breathing directly after birth and may develop asthma later in life.
Limited Partner Involvement
Depending on the nature of your cesarean and your doctor’s preferences, your partner may not be able to be involved or present for the birth of your baby.
Regardless of how you give birth to your baby, new motherhood can be a challenging time. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to get help with baby care including, asking friends and family for help, hiring a postpartum doula, or employing the services of a newborn care specialist. During your recovery after birth it is most important to rest your body and bond with your baby. Before long you will be a pro at caring for your little one, and the struggles of labor and delivery will be far behind you.