Weighing the Benefits and Risks of Vaginal Childbirth

Weighing the Benefits and Risks of Vaginal Childbirth

All babies enter the world through either a vaginal birth or a surgical delivery, called cesarean section. Both methods share the same ultimate goal: a healthy baby and mother. And both methods come with benefits and risks. 

With the number of C-sections on the rise and about a third of all American children coming into the world via surgical delivery, you may wonder why anyone chooses to go through vaginal childbirth.   

At the private practice of Kelly Morales OB/GYN, we understand the confusion and fear that often cloud labor and delivery. And as a mother herself, Dr. Morales knows firsthand how challenging it can be to decide which type of delivery is best for you and your baby.  

Keep reading as we explain the benefits and risks of vaginal childbirth and the alternatives available should the need arise.

Benefits of vaginal delivery

If you have a low-risk pregnancy, if your baby is in the right position, and if you’re at least 37 weeks, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends you attempt a vaginal delivery, even if you’re pregnant with twins or had a C-section in the past. 

When you have a baby without medical intervention, you have more control over your birth experience and a lower risk of harm to you or your baby. Other benefits of vaginal childbirth include:

With vaginal childbirth, you also have a lower risk of needing a bladder catheter and other invasive procedures. 

Risks of vaginal delivery

Natural birth involves strenuous physical exertion and varying degrees of pain. Dr. Morales helps you create a birth plan to cope, but there are times a complication or prolonged labor changes your plans.

And while vaginal delivery may be nature’s way of bringing children into the world, it doesn’t mean it’s without risks, including: 

In addition, if you have a long labor or if your baby is especially large, there’s a chance that your baby might be injured during the vaginal birth, including a risk for a fractured collarbone or bruised scalp. 

Alternatives to vaginal childbirth

Whether you’re planning to have a vaginal delivery or not, sometimes conditions arise during labor and delivery that may make a C-section a necessity. Instead of a traditional C-section, Dr. Morales uses an alternative approach called gentle C-sections to keep the focus of delivery on you and your baby. 

The surgical procedure during this type of delivery is similar to that of traditional C-sections. But a gentle C-section allows:

Not all women are eligible for this type of procedure, and it’s still surgery, so it comes with the same risks associated with traditional C-sections, such as longer hospital stays, pain, infection, blood loss, and longer post-delivery recovery. 

Learn more about the benefits and risks of vaginal delivery by visiting with Dr. Morales. You can set up an appointment by calling our San Antonio, Texas, office at your convenience.

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