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Giving birth is one of the most memorable times in a woman’s life, and every woman experiences it differently. Each has their own birth plan, ideas, thoughts, wishes, and even fears. Each also has their own way of going through the actual act. Some are adamant about doing it naturally, some don’t even want an epidural, and some just go with the flow and let things happen as the doctor sees fit. No matter what, the goal is always the same — the birth of a safe and healthy baby.

In recent years, more and more women are giving birth via C-Section rather naturally. In fact, almost 26% of births performed in U.S. hospitals to first-time mothers with low-risk deliveries were via C-Section in 2017, according to Statista, and in Florida alone, 31% of babies were born via C-Section. There are many reasons why a woman may give birth via C-Section. Perhaps it was planned ahead of time, as would be the case if the woman knows she is having multiples, has a medical condition, or had problems with her placenta during pregnancy. A C-Section may be deemed necessary by the doctors in situations where the mother has a small pelvis and the baby is large, or the baby is not in the correct position for a vaginal birth. There are also emergency C-Sections when the obstetrician must perform it unplanned if the mother and/or baby’s health is in danger during birth.

Whatever the case may be, LiveScience.com weighs the pros and cons there are, for both the mother and the baby, when deciding between vaginal and C-Section births.

Pros: Vaginal Birth

  • Shorter hospital stay and recovery time.
  • Avoids major surgery and its risks, i.e. bleeding, scarring, infections, reactions to anesthesia and longer-lasting pain.
  • Can hold a baby and begin breastfeeding sooner after delivery, since the mother won’t be coming off any medications.
  • Muscles involved in a vaginal delivery are more likely to squeeze out fluid found in a newborn’s lungs, which prevents the baby from having breathing problems at birth.
  • The baby receives an early dose of good bacteria as it travels through the birth canal, which helps boost the immune system and protect the intestinal tract.

Cons: Vaginal Birth

  • Risk of skin and tissue surrounding the vagina can stretch or tear during delivery, which could need stitches, and/or cause weakness or injury to pelvic muscles to control urine and bowel function.
  • May cause problems with urinary or bowel incontinence; may be more prone to leak urine when coughing, sneezing or laughing.
  • May experience a lingering pain in the perineum, the area between the vagina and anus.
  • In the event of a long labor or if the baby is larger than normal, the baby may be injured during birth, resulting in a bruised scalp or fractured collarbone.

Pros: C-Section

  • Scheduling in advance makes it a more convenient and predictable birth.
  • The labor process is not as long.

Cons: C-Section

  • Hospital stay is typically longer, two-four days on average.
  • Increased risk of physical complaints following surgery such as pain or infection at the site of incision and longer-lasting soreness.
  • Increased risk of blood loss and infection, the bowel or bladder can be injured during the operation, or a blood clot may form.
  • Studies show that women who have C-Sections are less likely to begin early breastfeeding.
  • Longer recovery period because of time it takes for the surgical scar to heal, at least two months.

As you can see, the pros of a natural, vaginal birth heavily outweigh those of a C-Section, but sometimes that is the woman’s choice or health complications may force it to be the case. Want to talk to a medical professional about these two birth options to learn more? Call Dr. Ghea at 954-473-2011 to schedule an appointment at Westside OBGYN Group, or request online.

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