Childbirth Delivery Methods and How to Determine the Best for You

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A vaginal delivery is the most common type of birth, but it’s not the same for every woman nor is it always the same every time for a woman who has given birth multiple times. This type of birthing method can be performed in a hospital, a birthing center, and even one’s own home. It can also be performed after a previous Cesarean section (C-section)— which is another common method. Here are some of the most common types of childbirth delivery methods, and how to choose the best one for you.

#1: Natural Childbirth

A natural childbirth is always a vaginal delivery, and it’s done without pain medications. It can be in the home, a birthing center, and even in a hospital. Because a natural birth means no pain medications, other forms of pain relief are used. These include:

  • Acupuncture of acupressure
  • Aromatherapy
  • Birthing balls
  • Heat/ice packs
  • Hot baths/showers
  • Massages

The biggest advantage of having a natural birth is that there will be no side effects from epidural, and the mother and baby can immediately bond and begin breastfeeding. Natural births are best for pregnancies that aren’t considered high-risk, although some low-risk pregnancies may need medical intervention during labor and delivery.

#2: Water Birth

Water births use a birthing tub during labor and delivery. They’re also considered “natural births” as they are performed without giving any medications to the mother, but they also tend to be less painful than other natural birthing methods. Water births are popular in birthing centers, homes, and even some hospitals allow water births.

Again, high-risk pregnancies are not ideal for this type of birthing method. However, pregnant women with certain medical conditions, such as high blood pressure or diabetes, can consider a water birth in a hospital setting.

#3: Assisted Births

Cesareans

Sometimes natural childbirth isn’t an option (usually for high-risk pregnancies), so an assisted birth is required. The most common type of assisted birth is a C-section, which involves an incision across the lower abdomen. Because this is considered surgery, it may not be as comfortable an environment as a home birth or birthing center. A typical hospital stay for a C-section is three days, although recovery can take up to eight weeks.

Forceps

Forceps can be used to help deliver the baby when the mother is too exhausted to push. These are curved tools that clasp around the baby’s head.

Vacuum Extractions

A vacuum extraction guides the baby through the birth canal like forceps, except this method uses a soft cup and suction to help birth the baby. While this method causes less fetal distress than a C-section, it can also result in minor to more serious head trauma for the baby. This is considered a birth injury, and parents should contact Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, or a birth injury attorney.

Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC)

For years, it was always considered dangerous for women to attempt a vaginal birth after they’ve had a C-section. This is because of the risks associated with VBACs (blood loss, infections, and uterine ruptures in rare cases). Although not all women will be candidates for a VBAC, it’s recommended to wait to conceive at least 12 months after your c-section.

Home Births vs. Birthing Centers vs. Hospital Births

About 2% of women choose to have a home birth, and this number seems to be rising. Home births can be more relaxing because of the familiar surroundings, even though no pain medications are given. However, a certified professional midwife is present during the birthing process. Natural vaginal births or a water birth can be performed in a home if the mother isn’t high-risk.

The same can be said about births in birthing centers. Birthing centers are usually designed to resemble a home or even hotel environment, though medical assistance is also nearby. All types of births can be performed in a birthing center except for C-sections.

Finally, hospital births have been the most popular since they’ve been around, though many more women are choosing home births and birthing centers if they’re eligible. Hospitals are typically the best option for high-risk pregnancies, although many hospitals have birthing centers so mothers can have the best of both worlds.

So overall, if you’re not experiencing a high-risk pregnancy, you have many birthing options to choose from. As long as there are no complications, you choose the birthing option that appeals to you the most. If you are high-risk, you should consult with your doctor about other options if you don’t want a traditional hospital birth.

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