There is no right or wrong way to give birth – or to put it another way, the right way to give birth is the way that leaves the happiest, healthiest mother and baby possible at the end of it, whichever way that might end up being. And an important part of figuring out what the right thing is for your unique pregnancy is knowing the benefits as well as the drawbacks to different birthing methods. However, for most low-risk women, vaginal birth tends to be the most recommended.
Benefits for the mother
Benefits for the mother include the following.
- Faster recovery: Even now that they’re so regularly performed that they might seem almost routine – more than a quarter of US births are C-section births – C-sections are still major surgeries. Generally, they require at least an extra day in the hospital, and a longer recovery period at home during which basic household tasks and lifting are difficult, painful, or impossible.
- Lack of scarring: The abdominal incision that makes a C-section possible leaves an external scar that can itch as it heals, and then can cause pain as it stretches during any future pregnancies. The internal scar tissue around the incision into the uterus can also cause pain in future pregnancies, and can increase risks in future C-sections.
- Cost: Though it varies between different hospitals and insurance plans, vaginal birth can cost as little as two-thirds of what a C-section does, a fairly significant difference in price.
Benefits for the baby
Benefits of vaginal birth for the baby include the following.
- Respiratory factors: The process of vaginal delivery is thought to help stimulate a newborn’s respiratory tract and help them prepare to start breathing air. In any case, babies who are born vaginally tend to have a lower risk of respiratory problems like transient tachypnea of the newborn and respiratory distress syndrome, in addition to asthma as they grow older.
- They get your good bacteria: One of the last ways babies benefit from their mother’s’ immune systems during vaginal birth is by being exposed to their mothers’ good bacteria as they make their way down the birth canal. This bacteria was generally developed around the home that the mother and her baby are about to share, so it prepares the newborn for his or her new home.
You should always speak to your healthcare provider if you have any questions about C-sections, or vaginal birth.
- Mayo Clinic Staff. “C-section: Risks.” mayoclinic. Mayo Clinic. August 4 2015. Web.
- Mayo Clinic Staff. “VBAC: Insights from a Mayo Clinic Specialist.” mayoclinic. Mayo Clinic. July 2 2015. Web.
- Amy Tuteur. “The Myths of Natural Childbirth.” ideas.time. TIME. October 12 2011. Web.
- Allison Shorten. “Weighing the Pros and Cons of Planned VBAC and Repeat Cesarian Section.” givingbirthwithconfidence. Lamaze International. September 5 2014. Web.