Are you planning for your big day soon and have no clue which delivery method is best for you?

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You can select between two methods, cesarean vs natural birth. Learn which method is right for you here.

What is Cesarean Delivery?

Medically, Cesarean delivery is a method of giving birth through a surgical incision in the abdomen and uterus. C-section has become a very common method of childbirth. One-third of mothers in America have their babies with C section.

Cesarean delivery is done either vertically or horizontally (bikini cut) just above the pubic bone. Although c-section is popular, it is rarely the first choice for those who are about to give birth the first time. C-section is done under certain circumstances.

Why Cesarean Delivery?

A C-section is usually done to prevent critical situations such as:

  • Placenta Previa – A condition in which the baby’s placenta covers the mother’s cervix during the third trimester of pregnancy.
  • Traverse position or breech position – The baby’s position is set to come out feet or buttocks first after eight months of pregnancy.
  • Placental abruption – A severe condition where the placenta separates from the mother’s uterus leading to the baby’s suffocation.
  • Cord Prolapse – The umbilical cord slips through the mother’s cervix and diminishes the bloodstream to the baby.

However, there are also many circumstances where the Cesarean section is performed.

  • Repeat cesarean – When the mother has already done a cesarean section during the previous childbirth. Although more than 90% of women who had a cesarean are an eligible candidate for a natural delivery, c-section is a safer option to avoid uterus rupture.
  • Genital herpes outbreak – If it occurs during the third trimester, it is an indication for the mother to undergo cesarean section to avoid infection to the baby.
  • HIV positive – It is always safer to have a cesarean section if the blood test nearing the childbirth period indicates a high viral load.
  • Twin or multiple pregnancies – usually is delivered by c-section although it also depends on the baby’s positions.

How is Cesarean Section Done?

Before the surgery, the mother will be given either general anaesthetic, an epidural or spinal anaesthetic. A general anaesthetic is normally given for emergency cesarean while epidural or spinal anaesthetic is given to numb the area from the waist below.

Additionally, a catheter will also be given to collect the mother’s urine during the Cesarean procedure.

During the surgery, the obstetricians make the first incision in the abdomen wall. This can either be “classical” incision (vertical) or horizontal incision. The vertical incision is done when it is an emergency c-section to deliver the baby faster.

The obstetricians cut through the fat and the connecting tissue (known as fascia) before pulling the muscles aside and cutting into the uterus.

After this, the obstetrician sucks the amniotic fluid before finally delivering the baby. Normally, the baby is delivered head first to keep them breathing. However, under certain circumstances, some of the babies are delivered depending on their position.

After successfully delivering the baby, the obstetrician cuts the umbilical cord then remove the placenta with oxytocin injection. It is time to finally stitch back the uterus, suck out extra blood, and close up with a layer of stitches.

The whole process of Cesarean delivery takes about 45 minutes, with the first 10 minutes delivering the baby. Complete c-section recovery should take around 4 to 6 weeks.

What is Normal Delivery?

Normal delivery or natural birth is the oldest baby delivery method in history. Normal delivery does not use any pain reliever at all and minimum medical interventions. It is a method of delivering a baby through the vagina.

Normal birth or normal delivery involves numerous stages of labours before the baby can finally come out.

The Stages of Labour

Before delivering the baby, the mother experiences three stages of labour:

1. The first stage of labour lasts typically around 6 – 36 hours for first-timers with three phases in total. The first phase is latent, and the mother’s cervix begins to widen approximately 3 – 4 cm. During this phase, the mother will experience menstrual cramps.

The second phase is the active phase the contractions will feel more powerful and frequent while the cervix continues to widen for another 3-4 cm. Additionally, the cervix will be fully dilated at about 10 cm.

The last phase of the first stage is the transitional phase where the mother’s cervix continues to widen at 8cm. The mother will also feel the urge to push the baby.

During the first stage, the position of the baby rotates so that the baby faces the mother’s back.

2. The second stage of labour begins when the cervix is fully dilated. During this stage, the mother will push the baby out of the birth canal and ready to deliver.

3. The final stage of labour is aimed to remove the placenta after the baby is out.

If you are still not sure whether to go for Cesarean delivery or normal delivery, you can talk to the experts directly through the Okadoc app.