Vaginal Birth - Benefits of a Natural Birth

What is a Natural Birth?

What is a natural birth? The question has several answers, it just depends upon who you ask and what their particular experience happened to be. Generally speaking, a natural birth is a vaginal birth where there was no induction, no pain medications administered and no interventions. If the birth was induced, but no medications were given for pain, then it is commonly called an unmedicated birth. If the birth was induced and pain medications were administered, or not induced, but pain medications were administered, then it is called a vaginal birth. Are you thoroughly confused now?

The Effect of Drugs in a Vaginal Birth

If you just take the words at face value, then a vaginal birth is one where the baby makes his way down the birth canal from the uterus and exits from the vagina into a waiting world. Most people would say the "vaginal birth" definition is exactly this - baby born by the natural route from the uterus to the outside world. As technology and science have gotten involved and had an impact, the definition has become somewhat convoluted. Although, the use of drugs can leave both mother and baby less in touch with the experience. An epidural can reduce the ability to push and drug the baby enough that he sleeps for a long time after he's born.

Can I Have a Vaginal Birth After a Cesarean Delivery?

Today there are many women who delivered their first baby, or babies, by cesarean delivery who want the experience of a vaginal delivery. Vaginal delivery after a cesarean delivery is possible and in some cases encouraged if the criteria is met. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, a good candidate for a vaginal birth after a cesarean delivery is as follows:

-There has only been one previous cesarean delivery and it was done with a low transverse horizontal incision (bikini scar). Any other type of incision increases the risk for uterine rupture. Since the external scar may not be the same cut as what was performed on the uterus, the doctor has to see the cesarean surgery report to determine if the cut is appropriate

-The practitioner has determined (via educated guesswork) that the pelvis seems large enough for a baby to pass through safely

-No other extensive surgery has been performed in the area

-There has never been a uterine rupture

-There is no medical condition or obstetric problem that would increase risk for a vaginal delivery

-There's a physician on site who can monitor the labor and perform and emergency section if necessary

-There are the necessary medical personnel available (ie anesthesiologist), plus necessary equipment available at all times to handle and emergency situation for either mother or baby

Benefits of Vaginal Delivery vs. Cesarean Delivery

When it comes to the comparison of a cesarean section versus vaginal birth, the argument rests solidly on the side of the VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean). VBAC means no major surgery and the associated risks, no long hospital stay and much shorter recovery period. If you have several cesareans, the risk of placenta previa and placenta accreta increases dramatically. Both of these conditions can be life threatening and end in a hysterectomy. They also increase the risk for other complications in delivery.

The vaginal birth benefits are that a vaginal birth is much safer than a surgical birth. You are not separated from your baby and you have the opportunity to hold and nurse your baby immediately upon birth. It is an empowering and exciting thing to deliver your baby vaginally, and it is a biologically and physically natural thing for a woman to experience.

It's So Worth It!

There can be some physiological vaginal birth effects, like a bit of tearing or a long labor, but the incredible joy that is felt when the baby exits in a natural way can't be compared to anything ever felt before. If you have had a cesarean birth and are contemplating a vaginal birth, then talk things over with your healthcare provider early in your pregnancy to determine if there is anything in your prenatal care program that can enhance the chances of a vaginal birth over a cesarean. Watch birth videos, especially natural vaginal birth videos so see how wonderful the experience can be - and to see what you would be heading into should you decide on a vaginal birth.

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