C Section or Natural Birth: Know the Risks
Before delivery, pregnant women should have a birthing plan in place and discuss the risks of natural birth and Caesarean section with their doctor.
Understanding the Risks of Childbirth
When a woman gives birth, the baby can come into the world in one of two ways – a vaginal birth or a surgical delivery by Caesarean section. To ensure the best outcome for mother and baby, it is important for the mother to understand the risks and benefits of both types of delivery.
Expectant mothers often prefer a vaginal birth over a Caesarean section, but this is not always possible. Both vaginal birth and C-section procedures have risks and benefits that can impact labor and delivery. While natural birth usually requires a longer labor, a C-section requires a longer recovery.
A vaginal birth typically means less time in the hospital and faster recovery than a C-section. A vaginal birth helps women avoid surgical procedures that pose associated risks such as infections, scarring, internal bleeding, reactions to anesthesia, and prolonged pain. Vaginal births have no residual effects from anesthesia and surgery, so mothers can hold their babies and breast feed much sooner.
A C-section may be planned in advance or done as a medical emergency during delivery, usually as the result of birth complications.
- Elective C-section – Doctors often plan for a C-section when there are medical reasons that prevent safe vaginal delivery or pose harm to mother or child. Elective C-sections are often performed under the following conditions: previous C-section; multiple births; a large baby; breech position (the baby is feet-first instead of head-first); and maternal medical issues like diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart disease.
- Emergency C-section – In some cases, something goes wrong during labor, which requires an emergency C-section. Such cases include: abnormal progression of labor; fetal distress; placental abruption; and prolapsed umbilical cord. An emergency C-section can be life-saving for both mother and baby.
Throughout pregnancy, labor, and childbirth, the ultimate goal is a healthy mother and baby. Understanding the risks of both vaginal births and C-sections will make childbirth much safer and less stressful. Although C-sections are often controversial, they save many lives and prevent many serious birth injuries seen by medical malpractice attorneys. One-third of all babies are born through C-section to ensure a safe delivery and a healthy mother and child.