Childbirth is possibly the most personal experience for women. Today, there are more childbirth options for expectant mothers than ever before including: vaginal births, home births, elective Cesarean section and even water births which can be performed at home – let’s explore the different options for you to decide which one suits you best.
The baby is born through the birth canal following a series of contractions. It cannot be definitively determined when a woman will go into labour but around 38-41 weeks of pregnancy is common.
Benefits of vaginal delivery:
- Shorter stay in the hospital
- Quicker recovery
- Babies born vaginally have a lower risk of respiratory issues
Caesarian section (C-section)
Should complications arise during pregnancy e.g. premature labour, twins, a large baby, a Cesarean Section may need to be performed. An incision is made in the abdomen and then a second incision is made in the uterus allowing the baby to be physically removed.
Many women choose to have a planned C-section. The benefits of this method include:
- Knowing the birth date and will likely not even go into labour.
- Receiving local anesthesia either via an epidural or spinal block. This will ensure that you are numbed from the waist down and won’t feel any pain.
Assisted birth: Forceps and vacuum extraction
A vacuum extraction may be done during vaginal childbirth to assist with the delivery. This method is used if the baby struggles to move through the birth canal. A small, soft cup is attached to the baby’s head and the vacuum helps guide the baby outwards.
Forceps assistance is very similar, also used during a vaginal birth. When the baby is struggling to fully emerge, forceps are inserted into the birth canal, gently grip the baby’s head and guide him/her out of the birth canal.
This is the process of delivering the baby in a birthing tub filled with warm water. A growing number of medical professionals believe that it reduces the stress of labour, lessening the potential for birth complications.
- The warm water helps ease some of the discomfort of labour for the mother.
- It allows the mother to experience weightlessness in the water, so she can get into comfortable positions during the labour.
- It’s believed to create a calm environment in which the baby is born.
Other factors to consider
Today, moms-to-be may be limited by certain factors that play a part in determining the best way for your baby to be delivered. Factors include:
- Where your provider practices
- What your insurance covers
- Whether you have a high-risk pregnancy
- Proximity of hospitals to your home
Marie Stopes is the global leader in women’s sexual and reproductive health services. We offer two Women’s Wellness check-ups to ensure your physical wellbeing. You can book an appointment at one of our centres.
In South Africa, we operate 17 centres across 7 provinces and are a Section 21 non-profit organisation recognised for the quality of our clinical services and our non-judgemental, client-friendly approach.