For all expecting parents, especially first time parents, the question of Normal vs. Caesarian delivery is a big decision. Old schoolers will always promote normal delivery while new mothers swear by C-section. Are there any pros of Caesarian or any cons of normal delivery at all? Does it really matter? Can I do something for my Normal delivery?
All of these questions are important ones to decide whether one has a preferred delivery mode or it doesn't really matter. I remember once a Doctor saying "Normal delivery has almost become like a footnote." Meaning , the % has gone so low in our circles. Which is something even data corroborates. India has one of the highest rates of C-section deliveries in the world and may well be on its way to becoming the country with highest no. of C-section births. As per WHO the total rate of C-section births in a country should not be more than 10-15% whereas India was already trending at ~17% in 2015-16. The % is 39% in rich quartile.
What is important is your first delivery pretty much decides how the subsequent deliveries be like. If you have had a Normal delivery the first time, your chances of future normal delivery are higher. On the contrary if it was C-section the first time, the subsequent will almost certainly be C-section.
I will try and list the pros and cons of each type of delivery as stated medically and also as stated by women experientially. Hopefully, this should help you decide what kind of delivery your would prefer.
1. The labour pain and birthing process - Is not easy, lets be clear and upfront about it. The labour hours can vary, being short for some to very long for other, final stage labour pains are strong and not easy to bear though the highest degree of pain is for a short duration of time.
2. I personally felt a degree of post labour psychological trauma - I would end up getting nightmares of the whole birthing process for a few weeks after the delivery. This was something I experienced both times.
3. Episiotomy - Most patients undergoing Normal delivery are given cuts in the vaginal / rectal area to aid the delivery. The stitches though few, given the sensitive zone can take time to heal or become literally a pain in the butt for the new mother.
4. loosening of Pelvic floor muscles - the pressure exerted on Pelvic floor during delivery can cause loosening of these muscles leading to risk of loss of control over urinary muscles too.
1. Natural way of birthing comes with its benefits of easier breastfeeding experience
2. Faster healing and recovery
3. Easy post pregnancy weightloss (if accompanied by breastfeeding)
4. Much lesser risk of side effects / complications.
1. Long healing process - Stitches take time to heal thus extracting the post partum process.
2. Difficulty in breastfeeding in the initial period post delivery this making the process of breastfeeding more difficult for the mother and baby.
3. Higher chance of complications during and post delivery.
4. Babies birthed through C-section are said to have lower immunity and at higher risk of childhood obesity, allergic reactions etc.
5. Post pregnancy weight loss becomes very difficult in C-section that require considerable effort.
1. A more manageable delivery experience.
2. Less post delivery trauma.
Given this one needs to decide their own preferred mode of delivery. For those looking for Normal delivery preferably, a few things that I think worked for me were:
1. Being up and about - All through my first pregnancy, I was up and about - working, moving about which possibly helps keep most parameters in check thus increasing chances of a normal delivery.
2. Walking - Walk according to me is the elixir for much increased chances of normal delivery. Its a great pregnancy exercise that helps ease multiple concerns, increases blood flow to baby thus making not just the mother but also the baby healthy while at the same time enabling a normal and quicker delivery. Atleast a 45 min. daily walk up till the 3rd trimester of delivery is useful (unless specifically advised against by your Doctor).
3. Light exercises - some light exercises like butterfly, squats, mild stretches can go a long way in making delivery experience easier. These poses help open the vaginal muscles thus increasing chances of normal .
4. Drink lot of water - keeping yourself hydrated is important for multiple reasons in Pregnancy. Make sure your get a good amount of water.
5. Have an open discussion with your Gynecologist - I think its important to have an open and honest conversation with your Doctor about what you are looking for, getting her thoughts, asking for tips etc. In case she conveys a complication, it would be advisable to take a second opinion on that before blindly agreeing or following them.
Hopefully this is useful. Any other tips / thoughts or ideas, please leave a comment.