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Giving Birth

Birthing
 

If you are pregnant, you may be wondering about the different ways of giving birth and what is best for you and your baby. There are two main modes of birth: vaginal and caesarean section.

 

Vaginal birth is when the baby is born through the mother's birth canal. It can be either normal or instrumental.

  • Normal vaginal birth means the baby is born without any assistance from instruments.

  • Instrumental vaginal birth means the baby is born with the help of forceps or vacuum. Forceps are metal instruments that grasp the baby's head and help pull it out. Vacuum is a suction cup that attaches to the baby's head and helps pull it out.

Risks and benefits of vaginal birth: Some of the benefits of vaginal birth are: - It is usually faster and easier to recover from than caesarean section - It lowers the risk of infection, bleeding, blood clots, injury to organs, and future pregnancy complications for the mother - It helps the mother's uterus contract and expel the placenta- It helps the baby adapt to breathing outside the womb - It promotes skin-to-skin contact and breastfeeding between the mother and the baby Some of the risks of vaginal birth are: - It can cause pain, tearing, or stretching of the vagina, perineum, or anus - It can damage the pelvic floor muscles or nerves, which may lead to urinary or faecal incontinence, sexual problems, or pelvic organ prolapse - It can cause injury or distress to the baby, especially if instruments are used - It can increase the risk of shoulder dystocia, which is when the baby's shoulder gets stuck behind the mother's pubic bone

Caesarean section is when the baby is born through a cut in the mother's abdomen and uterus. It can be either planned or emergency.

  • Planned caesarean section means the decision to have a caesarean section is made before labour starts.

  • Emergency caesarean section means the decision to have a caesarean section is made during labour because of a problem with the mother or the baby.Both modes of birth have advantages and disadvantages for the mother and the baby.

Risks and benefits of Caesarean Section: Some of the benefits of caesarean section are: - It can avoid some of the complications of vaginal birth, such as prolonged labour, fetal distress, or shoulder dystocia - It can be safer for some mothers or babies who have certain medical conditions or complications- It can be planned in advance and scheduled at a convenient time - It can allow more control over pain relief and delivery Some of the risks of caesarean section are: - It is a major surgery that requires longer hospital stay and recovery time than vaginal birth - It increases the risk of infection, bleeding, blood clots, injury to organs, and future pregnancy complications for the mother - It may affect the mother's ability to bond with or breastfeed her baby - It may cause breathing problems or low blood sugar for the baby - It may increase the risk of placenta previa or placenta accreta in future pregnancies

Factors that may influence your choice of mode of birth include your medical history, your previous births, your preferences, your baby's position and size, and the availability of services and support.

 

According to NSW data from 2021, 67% of women had a vaginal birth and 33% had a caesarean section. Of those who had a vaginal birth, 11% had an instrumental vaginal birth. Of those who had a caesarean section, 41% had a planned caesarean section and 59% had an emergency caesarean section.

The decision about your mode of birth is yours to make in consultation with your health care provider.

 

You should be informed about all your options and their benefits and risks. You should also be prepared for any changes that may happen during labour and delivery. You should discuss your preferences and concerns with your health care provider and, if you prefer, write a birth plan that reflects your wishes.

 

For more information on different modes of birth, you can visit these websites:

Your Next Birth after Caesarean Section - NSW Health

https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/kidsfamilies/MCFhealth/Pages/next-birth-after-caesarian.aspx

NSW Mothers and Babies 2021 - NSW Health

https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/hsnsw/Publications/mothers-and-babies-2021.pdf

Breech Baby at Term - NSW Health

https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/kidsfamilies/MCFhealth/Publications/breech-baby-at-term.pdf

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