Childbirth delivery options vary. Every woman’s experience is unique, and most mothers would say childbirth is painful. It is usually short-lived, and there are methods to reduce pain effectively. Although there are many choices in childbirth and choosing the right birth method can be a daunting task. It is easy to get lost in medical jargon and be confused by the countless delivery methods available.
You need to know that there are two methods of delivery. It includes the vaginal delivery and cesarean section which consists of natural unassisted childbirth (vagina) or assisted childbirth like C- section (delivery by Cesarean surgery). It may occur at home, in the hospital, or at a birth center.
The advantages and benefits of each delivery method must be weighed alongside the mother’s preferences to determine what is right for her. Therefore, women choose which way makes them most comfortable, suitable for their personal and medical situation.
Types of delivery methods
Natural unassisted childbirth
It usually occurs at home, in the olden days, and even till now in the hospital. It was known as the usual childbirth delivery method and option until some decades ago. Natural unassisted childbirth emphases an unrushed, supported process, minimal interference with less invasive monitoring. Women who undergo this method often attend a training class where they are put through this method to prepare them. Usually, you learn about the stages of labor, breathing, and relaxation techniques, what happens to the vagina after delivery, and how to prepare for the delivery and newborn. It includes:
- Vaginal delivery: It is a common and natural way of childbirth delivery. It occurs through the birth canal. Vaginal delivery reduces the risk of respiratory problems, food allergies, and lactose intolerance that a baby may go through. Although, it has its own risk as the baby can undergo physical trauma while passing through the birth canal. This can lead to swelling, bruising or broken bones in some rare cases.
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In the event of complications, women can choose several options to help them with safe delivery. They include:
- Vacuum extraction: It involves attaching a soft cup to the infant’s head while still in the birth canal. A handheld pump is used to create a suction to facilitate delivery. It has a lower risk compared to C-section, but bleeding might occur.
- Forceps delivery: it involves using curved instruments to facilitate the infant’s progress in the birth canal. It is an option for an exhausted mother or if the baby needs to be delivered more quickly.
- C-section: A hospital delivery method. It is a surgical procedure that involves a horizontal incision across the lower abdomen through which the infant is delivered. C-section is performed when vaginal delivery is impossible, or a problem arises. It is a straightforward process as the mother is anesthetized. Here, an incision is made through the abdomen and the uterus to reveal the baby. Delivery takes place through the incision. Most times, it is usually planned. You will be mandated to stay three days after a C-section to ensure the incision is healing.
- Homebirth: Homebirth can make soon to be mothers feel more comfortable and relaxed. It gives you more control over your labor position, environmental conditions, and the people present. Homebirth delivery is supervised by a midwife who provides coaching, necessary delivery procedures, and medical tools like oxygen, sutures, and an IV. Although it has its own risk and if complications occur, an emergency can be a long time coming.
- Hospital birth: If you have a high-risk pregnancy, then a hospital is the safest because of the medical technologies available there.
- Water birth: It can be done at home or in the hospital if the facilities are available. The procedure in a water birth involves spending the duration of your labor in a waste-deep pool of clean, warm water. The warm water helps to soothe and relax the body and mind as the cervix dilates. The water birth eases the mother’s strain, and the transition for the baby is less of a shock to the system.
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Steps for a more natural labor
It includes (but not limited to):
- Keep fit. Pregnant women who maintain their shape tend to have shorter labors. Fitness improves endurance. If you can tolerate labor, your chances of needing medical intervention are low. To know if you are fit to walk, swim, or take prenatal exercise class during pregnancy, please seek medical advice first.
- Take a childbirth class. When you get familiar with the stages of childbirth, and you practice comfort measures before labor. You will feel less nervous, and this can make it easier for delivery.
- Enlist good support. Asides your partner being by your side all through labor, you might need additional help as well. Discuss labor support with your doctor to ascertain the help you might need.
- Distract yourself. Active labor lasts an average of 12 to 14 hours for first-time mothers. When contractions begin, try to stay calm so as not to allow the worry to wear you out. Look for things that relax you and put your mind on it.
- Be open to medication. When your doctor suggests a medicine during the labor process, kindly adhere to it. It won’t affect the child, but it will be of good use for you.
Healthy birth practices
- Let labor begin on its own. It is healthier and safer for the mother and baby to let pregnancy labor start on its own. Please do not force it, but let it come naturally.
- Exercise throughout labor. Simple activities like walking around and changing of positions help women cope with intense and painful contractions. Finding comfort in convenient ways helps labor progress.
- Bring a loved one. Ask your partner, friend, or doula to come along for continuous support. Women feel better in labor when they are cared for by people they trust and know. Continuous emotional and physical assistance in pregnancy labor makes birth safer and healthier for the mother and child.
- Avoid giving birth on the back and follow the body’s urges to push. Upright positions like squatting, sitting or lying on the side make it easier for the baby to move through the birth canal. The baby might be wriggled through changing of positions by enlarging pelvic diameters.
Which birth method can we then say is healthiest?
You need to know that the body system differs. What works for “Woman A” might not work for “Woman B.” You need to understand your body system and know what best suits you.
After you must have gone through this article, you must be knowledgeable about the various delivery methods. Remember, your choice of birth method is personal and vital. Therefore, take time to navigate the right one for you and the child.
Your doctor might suggest which one will be the safest at that moment. All you need do is to allow them to perform their duties at that period. They know what is best to ease your pain and land you a safe and healthy delivery.