Giving birth by C-section or vaginal birth – Which is better for the mother and baby? -
Giving birth by C-section or vaginal birth – Which is better for the mother and baby?
Posted 23 Feb 2017 01:51 PM

Caesarean section deliveries, also known as C-section, have suddenly caught the attention of Women and Child Development (WCD) Minister Maneka Gandhi, prompting her to write to the Health Ministry on the issue.

Following a petition that seeks to curtail the C-section rate in the country, the minister wants Health Minister JP Nadda to make it mandatory for hospitals to publicly display the record of caesarean deliveries.

The move is being seen as an attempt to end the 'harmful practice' of hospitals and doctors making money by pushing women towards surgical deliveries instead of natural vaginal birth.

A C-section, although relatively safe, should be considered only when the health of either the mother or baby is at risk from vaginal delivery. Here's some information about the pros and cons of the two birthing methods:

Pros of vaginal birth

For the mother

Shorter hospital stay - Going through labor pain can be painful for the mother, but that definitely is worth it. She has a shorter hospital stay, mostly between 24 and 48 hours, as compared to those who have had a C-section.
Avoiding major surgery reduces a woman's risk of infections, severe bleeding and scarring.
Can hold the baby and begin breastfeeding sooner after delivery.

For the baby

Babies born vaginally receive good bacteria, which may boost their immune systems and protect their intestinal tracts.
Less likely to suffer breathing problems at birth.
Mothers can have early contact with the baby and breastfeed more effectively.

Cons of vaginal birth

For the mother

Risk of tearing the skin and tissues around the vagina, requiring stitches which could cause weakness or injury to pelvic muscles that control her urine and bowel movements.
Fear of childbirth may cause maternal stress.
Risk of unforeseen complications during labor such as hemorrhaging.
May develop problems with bowel or urinary incontinence.
May also have lingering pain in the perineum, the area between her vagina and anus.

For the baby

May get injured during birth itself – such as having a bruised scalp or a fractured collarbone, if the mother has had a long labor pain or the baby is large, according to the Stanford School of Medicine.

Pros of C-section

For the mother

More convenient and predictable for the mother as a surgical birth can be scheduled in advance.
Decreased risk of incontinence, sexual dysfunction for first three months postpartum.

For the baby

Reduced risk of oxygen deprivation during delivery.
Less likely to experience birth trauma - such as while passing through birth canal, or from forceps or vacuum extraction.

Cons of C-section
For the mother

Longer hospital stay - 3 to 5 days - and longer recovery period.
Increased risk of blood loss and blood clots.
Higher risk of infection and damage to the bowels or bladder.
Higher mortality rate due mostly to blood clots, infections and complications from anesthesia.
Possible complications with breastfeeding.
Increased likelihood of clinical postpartum depression.
Greater risk of future pregnancy complications.
More likely to have a C-section in future deliveries.
More expensive than a vaginal birth.

For the baby

Greater risk for stillbirth.
Possible pre-term delivery.
Possible injury to the infant when the doctor makes the uterine incision, although rare.
More likely to have breathing problems at birth and even during childhood, such as asthma.
Greater risk of becoming obese as children and even as adults.

A pregnant woman can have either a C-section or vaginal birth. Because the ultimate goal is to deliver the baby safely and in a healthy manner. But, what's most important is careful evaluation of the health conditions of the mother and unborn baby with the doctor for all the possible outcome and consequences before deciding which one to opt for, whether a natural birth or surgical process.

Leave a comment: (Your email will not be published)