There are risks and benefits with everything we do in life, and vaginal birth carries benefits as well as risks. In the UK thanks to our human rights laws, thanks to Birthrights campaigning over the years and the NICE guidelines everything you do during pregnancy, labour and birth is your choice. It is your birth, your body and your baby and it is about making choices which are right for you.
What are the benefits of vaginal birth?
1. Quicker recovery time when compared to caesarean birth. This depends on any additional complexities or complications during birth, but most women can resume most activities like lifting, bending and mobilising with little to no concerns.
2. Can drive when feel comfortable or 12-24 hours after the anaesthesia
3. If you have laboured before, subsequent labours are more likely to be quick
4. Lower chance of future pregnancy complications and endometriosis
5. Improved microbiome and gut friendly bacteria for your baby lowering the chance of obesity, asthma, eczema and allergies.
6. Lower chance of neonatal admission to the neonatal unit after 37 weeks, when compared to all other birth types (planned caesarean follows next, followed by instrumental and unplanned caesarean birth)
7. Milk supply transitions slightly earlier around day 2-3 from colostrum. Women who have a spontaneous vaginal birth often find starting a breastfeeding journey starts easier (due to a multitude of factors from mobility, immediate skin to skin and blood loss)
8. Can be empowering and a positive experience for women’s wellbeing which can lower the chance of postnatal depression and improve attachment and confidence in parenting (this is about a positive birth experience in general however this looks for the person)
9. Can have choice of place of birth, what happens in birth and support
10. Have shorter hospital stays
11. Lower chance of Readmission and lower chance of infection
12. Less need for pain relief in the postnatal period
What are the risks of vaginal birth?
These are based on generic statistics and figures with women in general, and I have explained where there are risk factors where statistics will vary due to these risk factors. This does not explore previous caesarean birth, but you can check these out on my Instagram page.
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