What difference does it make if I give birth via C section or vaginally?
We live in a society where it is growing more common to have your baby delivered via elective C-Section, but most health bodies, like the WHO, The American Association of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and The National Health Service in the UK recommend a vaginal birth and suggest only a rate of approximately 20% for C sections.
The following medical reasons indicate that a C section may be the best and safest way to deliver your child:
• your baby is in the breech position (feet first) and has not been able to turn
• you have a low lying placenta (placenta praevia)
• you have pregnancy-related high blood pressure (pre-eclampsia)
• you have certain infections
• your baby is not getting enough oxygen and nutrients – sometimes this may mean the baby needs to be delivered immediately
• your labour is not progressing or there's excessive vaginal bleeding
• your baby has an ongoing abnormal fetal heart rate
If none of the above apply to you then you should really be trying for a vaginal birth, because there are significant health benefits to you and your baby:
• Your baby will receive beneficial bacteria.
• You’ll squeeze fluid out of your baby’s lungs.
• You will help build your baby’s immune system.
• Your hospital stay will be shorter and your recovery time will be faster.
• You’ll avoid the risks of major surgery.
• You’ll be more likely to engage in early breastfeeding.
• You’ll be less likely to have complications in future pregnancies.
• You’ll decrease your child’s risk of childhood asthma and obesity.
• You’ll be less likely to suffer from subsequent fertility problems.
• Even if you end up having an emergency C-Section, the benefits to starting with a natural labour are similar to those of a vaginal birth.
Apart from this, there are significant disadvantages to having an elective C Section that people don’t talk about:
• Recovery time is significantly longer
• The pain during recovery makes it hard to carry your baby, more difficult to breastfeed or even just conduct daily activities
• There is a risk of scar infections and on-going problems if scars to not heal evenly
• Breastfeeding issues
• Complications in surgery
• Skin to skin may be delayed or not happen for many hours
• At the start you may be dependant on others for basic functions
• You will not be able to exercise for a lot longer