Thursday, November 30, 2023

Childbirth – Vaginal Or Caesarean Section

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Childbirth is an event eagerly looked forward to by the couple and family alike. But, again at the same time can be a time of great apprehensions especially for the expecting mother. The fear of the unknown is what usually plagues pregnant women especially the mode of delivery whether normal or caesarean section.

What exactly is a normal delivery?

Normal delivery means a vaginal delivery taking place through the normal birth passage at or around the due date with mother and baby both healthy. 

Caesarean section is delivery occurring by giving extracting the baby through an incision given on the abdomen. These days, many women want to opt for a planned caesarean delivery as they feel that they would be unable to withstand labour pains. But I would like to assure these women that these days painless delivery is a good option for these women who are petrified of labour pains and want to opt for caesarean because of this.

So why is normal delivery  (vaginal delivery) encouraged by most doctors if there are no complications in either mother or baby?

Since vaginal delivery entails delivery of the baby through the natural route, It requires that the pelvic muscles of the mother be active and supple so that the baby can pass through the birth canal easily. The advantages of this mode of delivery are faster recovery, the mother can breastfeed earlier as she is up and about earlier. Also, there are no dietary or physical restrictions for the mother. Many times, a cut is given in the vagina which is stitched up after the delivery and it heals on its own after proper care for the stitches.

For the baby also, chances of breathing difficulties after vaginal delivery are much less as the baby gets time in the birth passage to adapt to life outside the mother’s womb. Also, early breastfeeding gives the baby an advantage from the very outset.

But why is caesarean section preferred by most patients these days?

It is not that caesarean has too many disadvantages but the option of getting a baby with an hour or two of a planned procedure without waiting for hours is what makes it more attractive to most patients. But mothers undergoing caesarean section are likely to be immobile longer than those undergoing a vaginal delivery due to the abdominal cut and the discomfort that remains for a longer time. The chances of a baby undergoing instrumentation in case it is an emergency procedure are almost nil in the case of a caesarean section.

Thus whether vaginal delivery or a caesarean section is a decision made by the couple and her treating doctor after keeping in mind the health of the mother and the baby for an optimum outcome.

The doctor is a Senior consultant- Gynaecology at Cloud Nine Hospital, Sector 14 Gurgaon and Apex Clinic, Sector 31, Gurgaon. 

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