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C-Section vs. Natural Birth

written by: DulceCorazon • edited by: BStone • updated: 10/29/2010

There is much concern among pregnant women on issues about natural birth versus cesarean birth. Natural birth is usually chosen when nothing is wrong with the pregnancy. A cesarean section, on the other hand, is often performed in cases where there are health implications.

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    Overview

    When everything about a pregnancy is normal and no perceived threat is present to either the child or the mother, a natural vaginal birth is usually chosen. However, there are instances when natural vaginal birth may not be the best option and a C-section, also known as cesarean section, becomes necessary. Below is a comparison between the natural birth versus cesarean birth.

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    Natural Vaginal Birth

    Most woman give birth through natural childbirth. Giving birth to a child in a natural way simply means the child slowly moves down from the pelvic region into the birth canal and out the vagina. This process is usually facilitated by contractions. As contractions happen, the pain triggers the brain to release oxytocin, a substance that in turn make the contractions more intense. It's a natural function of the female body that has given birth to countless generations of humans for thousands of years. Sometimes, though, this process is interrupted or becomes difficult and may endanger both the lives of the mother and the child.

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    C-Section Birth

    In a Cesarean delivery, the baby is removed manually from the mother's womb through surgery. The mother is usually given spinal anesthesia before the procedure. The obstetrician then performs the Cesarean section surgery which involves cutting through the mother's belly to remove the baby inside.

    A C-section is often done when it is difficult for the mother to deliver the baby vaginally or such normal delivery can cause more harm to the baby or to both of them. Examples of such cases include infections in the mother's reproductive tract, when the baby's head is too large to allow passage through the mother's opening, abnormal positioning of the baby, and when baby becomes stressed that immediate delivery is imperative.

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    Comparing C-Section and Natural Birth

    There is usually less risk involved in the natural birth process. Recovery is often faster with most mothers being discharged from the hospital a couple of days later. A C-section is a major surgery, thus it is often associated with complications attributed to such a procedure. These include infections in the wound area, bleeding and formation of blood clots in the veins.

    Aside from this, a C-section may also have risks for infection in the uterus, urinary injuries or injury to the baby. Recovery time is also longer, often taking more than two days of stay in the hospital. In some women, the scar that the operation left behind can become a cosmetic problem forcing them avoid wearing a skimpy bikini afterwards.

    Pregnant women should be aware about natural birth versus Cesarean birth and ask their obstetrician if they have concerns about these matters. Their doctor can often recommend which birth method is appropriate, depending on their condition and the health status of their child.

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    References

    MedlinePlus: C - Section, http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002911.htm

    Mayo Clinic: C- Section, http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/c-section/MY00214

    Pubmed Central: Why Natural Childbirth?, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1595040/

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