Last modified on August 2022
With inputs from Dr. Uma M - Consultant Family Physician, and Diabetologist
Having a child is one of the most rewarding experiences in one’s life. For a woman, growing and supporting a child within her body is a profound event and a miraculous journey that is remembered for the rest of her life. As the baby grows in the womb and it is time for birth, many women may have questions about what to expect. This article aims to help women understand the process of birthing and tips for normal delivery.
The number of cesarean deliveries in India are 17.2% while the WHO recommends a rate of 10-15%. At current growth rates, India is expected to have the most cesarean births in the world.
With the number of c-sections performed increasing, you might be wondering whether you should opt for one. The best birthing plan is one that your doctor recommends based on your health risks.
However, if you are experiencing a healthy pregnancy, then you can choose between a normal delivery process and a c-section. Here is all the information you need to make the decision.
Expecting mothers are usually presented with two options for delivery: a normal delivery and a C-section. Usually, mothers can decide ahead of time what their birthing plan will be. When trying to decide between both these options, it is important to understand the process behind both and pregnancy precautions to take. It is important to remember, however, that even if you decide to have a natural delivery, your doctor might have to perform a C-section in emergency cases.
Definition of ‘normal delivery’
A normal delivery, also known as a normal vaginal delivery (NVD), is the process of birthing a child through the vaginal canal. This is the natural process of birthing; in many cases, to-be mothers opt for this type of birth as it reduces complications that can come from surgical interventions. Some mothers also opt for a vaginal birth with minimal or no use of pain medication. This does not have to be the case for everyone, however, as one can have a normal delivery even with the use of pain medication and interventions.
For most women, there is a sense of anxiety and fear because of the pain associated with normal delivery. While this is normal, pregnancy delivery pain is common, being more informed and educated about normal delivery can help you prepare for the process and have a successful normal delivery.
If you’re an expecting mother in 2021, even during the COVID-19 pandemic, we make doctor consultations and check-ups easier for you. Through MFine’s online doctor consultations, you can speak to leading gynaecologists in India anytime anywhere, through instant chat or video calls from the comfort of your home.
Consult a top gynaecologist on MFine to get started on your journey to motherhood!
Chapter 1: The Normal Delivery Process
Types of delivery
Essentially, there are only two types of deliveries that can happen, but there are variations among these types. It is important to keep in mind that though you may have planned for a normal delivery procedure, it might not go according to plan and things may have to change at the last minute. Below are some of the types of delivery possible:
i. Vaginal delivery:
This is considered the safest and most preferred method of birthing for mothers and doctors alike. There are many advantages to birthing a baby through the birth canal naturally as opposed to a cesarean section, such as improved immunity for the baby and better expansion of the baby’s lungs.
A vaginal delivery might sometimes require medical intervention. Sometimes, a woman may not be able to bear labour pains and ask for pain-relieving treatment such as an epidural. Though this might not mean a painless normal delivery, it can relieve a lot of labour pain symptoms. Sometimes, if a baby’s head is not passing smoothly enough through the birth canal, an episiotomy is required. An episiotomy is an incision made in the perineum, which is the tissue between the vaginal opening and the anus, to help avoid tears and bring the baby out safely. This is not done for every birth, but is assessed during the birthing process and decided upon in the moment.
ii. Natural birth
A natural birth is one that avoids all pain medications and medical interventions during the delivery. Some women choose this as they feel it is the most natural way of birthing, and hence the healthiest. Moreover, some women are at risk for lowered blood pressure when they opt for an epidural, which in turn affects the baby and the entire birthing experience.
A completely natural delivery is encouraged for women who have a low-risk, uncomplicated pregnancy. Talk to your doctor before choosing this option.
iii. Cesarean section
A cesarean section, also known as a c-section, is when a doctor makes a horizontal incision on the lower abdomen where the uterus is and removes the baby through it. Sometimes, even when a woman has chosen to deliver vaginally, some unforeseen circumstances and complications lead to an unplanned c-section. In some cases, you can even schedule your c-section beforehand. This is done especially in the case of high-risk pregnancies.
iv. Induced Labour
Normally, a woman naturally achieves labour once her gestation period of 40 weeks is done. However, it is also possible that sometimes a woman can be in her 41st or 42nd week of pregnancy with no signs of labour yet. In this case, the doctor will induce labour.
Some other reasons to induce labour are:
- Concern about placenta’s effectiveness
- Baby is making slower and fewer movements
- Your water has broken but contractions haven’t started
In this case, a doctor may believe it is best to induce labour for you and your baby’s health. Induction may be done by breaking the water manually,
mechanically opening the cervix, or by medications that kick-start contractions.
v. Forceps Delivery
Sometimes, a doctor may have to use forceps to bring the baby out through the vaginal canal. This is done only when the mother is no longer able to push, or the baby is having trouble coming through the birthing canal. These days, forceps delivery is becoming increasingly rare as there is a risk of injury to the baby.
vi. Vacuum Extraction
Much like with forceps, a baby that is having trouble coming out or a mother having trouble pushing will be helped by inserting a small vacuum that safely cups a baby’s head and gently brings it out into the world.
vii. Vaginal delivery after c-section
Doctors generally advise women who have had c-sections with past births to continue having a c-section with subsequent births. However, it is more and more common now for doctors to encourage women to deliver vaginally even with a c-section history. Mothers may also prefer a normal delivery after having longer recovery times after a previous c-section. When a woman delivers normally after a c-section, it is called a VBAC.
When is normal delivery recommended?
Generally, any healthy woman with a healthy pregnancy and low-risk birth factors is recommended to have a normal delivery. Some women are considered “high risk”, and may not be recommended to have a normal delivery. High-risk factors include:
- Carrying multiple fetuses
- Older than 35 years of age
- A history of medical conditions, such as diabetes, preeclampsia, or blood-clotting disorders
- A history of surgery on the uterus, such as a previous cesarean section.
- Complications during pregnancy, such as placental issues or fetal growth restriction
- The size of your baby
- A baby in breech position (feet first and not head first through the birth canal)
However, even with some high-risk factors such as age, many women are able to have a successful normal delivery. Before deciding which is the best option for you, talk to your doctor about all your options and preferences. Once your health and state of pregnancy is evaluated, both you and your doctor can create a plan together for the best course of action for your pregnancy.
Stages of labour
Labor is usually a long drawn out process and takes place in multiple stages. Understanding what these normal labour stages are can help you learn what to expect and take away some of the fear of the unknown. It will also help you understand what your body is going through during the labour process and will help you create a birthing plan to help you during each stage.
First stage: Cervix dilation
The first stage of labour is the longest one, lasting anywhere from a few days to a few hours. Every woman’s body is different, hence every woman’s pregnancy experience is different.
One of the first symptoms of labour pain is mild discomfort in the lower abdominal area. When a woman is ready to give birth, the cervix softens, thins and begins to open. This part lasts the longest time. At the beginning, some women may not even feel this. However, as time goes on, she may start feeling some pain and discomfort, but the contractions are irregular as opposed to timed and predictable contractions later. All women are different, so some may feel the signs of labour approaching, and some may not.
Some of the early signs of labour to look out for are:
- Lower back pain
- Loose bowel movements , sometimes loose stools
- A blood-stained mucus dischargeper vagina called “show”
- A slow leak or a sudden gush of fluid from the vagina. This is the “water breaking”. This fluid should be clear or slightly pink. If the colour is bloody or green-ish, it indicates a problem with the baby. Contact your
doctor immediately in this case.
As your labour progresses, your contractions become stronger and closer. You may start feeling restless, more tired, and the pain becomes more intense. During contractions, the pain comes in waves, first starting small, reaching a high point, and ending quickly after that. You may be in active labor if your contractions happen at least every 5 minutes, last for 1 minute each, and have been happening consistently for at least 1 hour, this is the time you need to go to the hospital. At the end of the first stage of labor, your cervix is dilated to 10cm, and your contraction pains are very high. This is a labour symptom that signals that your body is ready to give birth.
Second stage: Birth of baby
The second stage of labour is from the time the cervix is fully dilated to when the baby makes its way out of the birth canal. It is normal to feel pain during delivery during this time. Some of the common experiences of the second stage of labour are:
- Cramps, nausea, vomiting
- Increased pressure at your bottom
- Longer and more powerful contractions, with only 1-2 minutes in-between
- A strong urge to push
- Burning and stretching sensations in your vagina
Once you are fully dilated and your body is ready, you begin to feel an overwhelming urge to push. This is completely natural and your body’s way of telling you that the second stage of labour is active. On average, it can take an hour to 3 hours from the pushing stage to the birth of the baby. This can be longer for first time mothers as well as women who have had an epidural. It may go more quickly for mothers who have already given birth once.
Apart from the urge to push, you may also experience the following:
- Pressure on your bottom and a strong urge to pass stools
- The baby’s head moving downwards
- Stretching and burning in the vagina
Once you begin to push, during the baby delivery process, concentrate on your breathing. Try to not hold tension in your face and body, rather give into your body’s signals and push when the urge and delivery pain is at its highest. Your doctor will guide you on how to push, sometimes asking you to do it more gently to give your vagina time to recover and stretch, thus helping to reduce tearing.
Once the head of the baby is out, the rest of the body follows very soon. As soon as the baby is out, the second part of labour is over. In some cases, your doctor might have to clear your baby’s airway manually. The doctor will also cut the umbilical cord once the baby is born.
Third stage: Expelling placenta
Once your baby is born, you may feel a lot of relief and a sense of accomplishment. Depending on your birth plan, you will get to hold your baby or lay him/her on your chest. It is a very powerful experience for a mother. This is also when the next stage of labour begins, as you still need to deliver the placenta to finish the entire normal delivery process.
During this time, your doctor may ask you to push once again to deliver the placenta. You’ll likely still have mild contractions. You may also be given medication to help in expelling the placenta as well as minimise the bleeding.
Once the placenta is delivered, the doctor will examine it to make sure all of it is out. Any fragments remaining in your uterus will need to be removed to prevent infection and bleeding. The uterus may have mild contractions once again as it returns to its normal size. A doctor may massage your abdomen at this time to feel if the uterus has remained firm and that there are no problems. After an examination of your vagina is done, you may need some stitches, which will then be addressed.
You may choose to breastfeed your baby when your doctor is examining you. This is the time to bond with your baby and partake in the miracle that is birth.
– The normal delivery process is broken down into three stages of labor. The first stage is contractions, when your water breaks and your cervix dilates
– The second stage is the actual birth, when the baby is extracted through c-section or birthed through the vaginal canal
– In the final stage, the mother expels the placenta from the uterus
Consult a top gynaecologist on MFine to know more about how normal delivery works
Chapter 2: How to Get Normal Delivery: Top Tips For Normal Delivery
Studies are now showing that a normal delivery is healthier for both mother and baby in the long run, so more and more women are hoping to have a natural delivery as opposed to a c-section. A woman may plan for a normal birth, but it is once again important to keep in mind that things may always change at the last minute. Both a normal delivery and a c-section are “natural” ways of birthing, and both make a woman a mother. However, to improve your chances of a natural birth, these tips for normal delivery can help:
“It is completely normal and expected to feel nervous about labour. If you are planning a normal delivery, then attending birthing classes, practicing meditation and speaking to your gynaecologist about the labour process can help you feel more calm and prepared when the time comes. But remember, even if you are planning to have a normal delivery, your birthing plan can always change depending upon you or your baby’s condition. So stay open to this possibility and trust that your doctor’s have the best interests of you and your baby in mind.”
– Dr Uma M, Consultant Family Physician and Diabetologist
i. A healthy body leads to a healthy pregnancy
Women that are healthy overall, have a healthy weight, and have little to no pregnancy complications are the best candidates for a normal delivery. Therefore, a healthy pregnancy starts with a healthy lifestyle. This begins before conception, such as regularly taking prenatal vitamins, exercising regularly, eating healthy, and maintaining a healthy weight. Once you are pregnant, continuing a healthy lifestyle makes you the best candidate for a
healthy and stress-free pregnancy and birthing plan.
ii. Stress control
Stress is one of the most detrimental states to be in, especially during pregnancy. While it is absolutely normal to feel stressed and anxious, dwelling on negativity is unhelpful and unnecessary.
No matter how many practical tips for normal delivery you recieve, sometimes you just need to breathe and realise that your body is built for birth, and even with the pain that comes from birthing, the end result is one of joy, ecstasy and wonder. When you see signs of labor approaching, have faith in your body to support you through this normal delivery time, and lean on your support circles, such as your partner, friends and parents to keep you in a positive place.
Looking for more tips for normal delivery? Indulge in enjoyable activities, such as reading or listening to music. Practice meditation and breathing techniques regularly to keep stress levels low.
iii. Exercise and movement
Many women feel like they need to be very careful about their movements during pregnancy, but this need not always be the case. A great pregnancy exercise for normal delivery for most women who are healthy
is yoga as not only is yoga a slow-movement exercise, but throughout the pregnancy, yoga helps strengthen the body and keeps both mother and child fit for birth. Moreover, constant movement during labour, such as walking, helps with contractions, helps with the baby’s movement towards the pelvis, and can increase the chances of a normal delivery. These slow-movement tips for normal delivery are always better than laying on your back throughout the labour process. Many yoga schools offer pregnancy yoga for normal delivery, and other exercises for normal delivery as do birthing classes. A woman can do exercises until the 9th month of her pregnancy, even until the day before giving birth! Exercise has also been effective in reducing symptoms of labour pain in the 9th month for many women. So don’t feel afraid to exercise.
Talk to a doctor about exercising during your pregnancy for the best exercises for normal delivery.
iv. Attend birthing classes
Understanding in detail what happens during labour can help you feel prepared, and there is no better place to be informed about birthing than at a class. So here’s another tip for normal delivery – attend a birthing class! There are many classes available nowadays, with even online options during the COVID-19 crisis. They can give you incredible information to make your normal delivery process delivery successful, keep you healthy throughout pregnancy, help you with exercise for normal delivery, and to practice breathing techniques.
v. Hire trained labour support
Having a strong support system during the time of your delivery can make you feel safe and comfortable. Decide ahead of time who will be in the delivery room with you. Your birthing partner (this can be your husband, mother, sister, or friend, or a trained doula) can practice breathing exercises with you before you go into labour. This will help them be prepared to support you when it’s time to give birth. While some may not consider this as an important tip for painless normal delivery, the mother’s mental health is crucial during birth as her body is going through intense natural physical and emotional exertion.
vi. Try to avoid induction
If a woman does not show signs of labour even after the 41st week, many doctors recommend inducing labour. Sometimes, an induction is necessary for medical reasons, but other times, it is a way to speed up the labour process which the body may not be ready for. Being pressured to induce labour without a medical reason often ends up requiring medical assistance, such as an episiotomy, epidural, or a c-section because the labour pain symptoms becomes too intense and difficult for the mother to handle.
Talk to your doctor about all options before inducing labour if you have a healthy pregnancy.
vii. Go to the hospital only during active labour
One of the best tips for normal delivery and a way to encourage a vaginal delivery is by going to the hospital only when you are in the last part of the first stage of labour. This would mean stronger contractions with only a few minutes between them. This helps you to go through the initial labour in the comfort of your home, to keep mobile at home instead of only lying down on the bed in a hospital, and gives your body a chance to endure the labour without pain medications, such as an epidural, that can complicate a normal delivery procedure.
viii. Perineal massage
One of the ways of reducing the chances of an episiotomy is by practicing a perineal massage in the last few weeks of your pregnancy. One of the best tips for normal delivery, this helps to prepare the vagina to stretch during birth and is known to move the mother towards a painless normal delivery. The perineum is the area between your vaginal opening and the anus. To massage, gently hook your thumb inside the lower part of your vagina and pull. Doing this once or twice a week has shown to be more effective than doing it every day.
– Even if you plan on having a normal delivery, certain medical factors can make a c-section necessary. However, there are a few steps you can take to increase your chances of having a normal delivery
– Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, managing stress levels and performing a perineal massage are some of the ways to do so
To improve your chances at a safe, normal delivery, consult a gynaecologist on MFine for advice and insights
Chapter 3: Tips for Normal Delivery for Indian Mothers
Your doctor is the best source of medically-accurate advice on your birth. However, a lot of times, it can also be helpful to learn tips for normal delivery from mothers who have been through the delivery process themselves. This can help you learn from their mistakes or find out what worked for them and replicate it in your own birth plan. Always remember though that every birth is different and what worked for one mother might not necessarily work for you. You should ensure you consult with your OBGYN before making any changes to your diet, lifestyle or birth plan.
Having said that, here is a compilation of some of the best tips for normal delivery shared by real moms.
1. Do your research
Keeping yourself fully informed is one of the best ways to deal with any anxiety or nervousness relating to birthing, labor pain symptoms, and pregnancy. As stated before, it is absolutely normal to feel worried about the future, but it is also up to you to keep your stress levels in check. There are many informative books you can read that can give you detailed information about your pregnancy and postpartum, as well as online resources that can educate both you and your partner about what to expect. Moreover, talk to people you trust about your pregnancy, such as your mother, friend, or sibling, for example.
There is also a chance that you may hear negative experiences of pregnancy and postpartum. In this instance, it is best to understand that every woman’s pregnancy process is different, and just because someone else had a negative experience doesn’t mean that you will too.
Keeping yourself informed of everything, especially if things don’t go according to your plan, empowers your choices and lets you make your own decisions instead of having them thrust upon you.
2. Ask your gynecologist questions
Doing your research beforehand helps you ask your gynecologist questions during consultations and check-ups. After all, the most informed and experienced person regarding pregnancy and birth is your doctor, so make sure to use your time with him/her in the best way possible. He or she would be the best person to give you tips for easy normal delivery, the normal delivery stages, normal delivery symptoms, normal delivery pain, exercises for normal delivery, food for normal delivery, and more and give you a more personalized answer depending on i your case specifically. You may also have some doubts or concerns based on your research, or want to know about how your birth plan can be set up. Your doctor should ideally help you through your questions and honor your wishes.
3. Create a stress-free environment
Your pregnancy experience and your normal delivery process is enhanced when the environment you are around is positive and helpful. A stress-free pregnancy is not impossible as long as you do your part to create the right space for you and your baby. Do things that you
enjoy doing guilt-free, such as reading books or watching something you like. Spend time with friends and family you love. Give yourself this time to reconnect with who you are. Also take time to practice exercises for normal delivery and
breathing techniques and meditation, as this can help you create positivity and calmness if you feel like your environment is not always helping you.
Grounding techniques and mindfulness are also integral in helping you cope with stress in the long run.
4. Exercise regularly and do kegel exercise
Pregnant women are often advised not to exercise themselves for fear of overexertion or stress to the baby. However, gentle exercises are an important part of a healthy pregnancy. You will be surprised as to how durable and strong your body and uterus are. Doing slow-movement exercises like yoga and walking regularly are some incredible ways to prepare your body for birth. Walking keeps your lower organs fit by increasing blood flow, while yoga strengthens your overall body and spirit.
Kegel exercises are also one of the best exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor to get it ready for the process of giving birth. They also strengthen your bladder, uterus and bowels, all of which play an integral part in giving birth. To do this exercise, you need to contract your pelvic muscles and hold them for a count of 5, and release. It is recommended that you do 10 times in one go, take a break, and repeat the same thing 4 more times.
5. Get enough sleep
Sleep is one thing that in today’s times a lot of women neglect due to other pressing needs. Getting enough sleep cannot be stressed enough as one of the most important tops for normal delivery. Your body repairs and nourishes itself when you sleep, so, during pregnancy, sleep is of utmost importance when you are pregnant. One of the earliest symptoms of pregnancy is increased fatigue, which is due to the rise in hormones as well as your body’s adjustment to being pregnant. The fact that your body is growing a human inside it is beyond amazing, so it is only natural that you are tired and need to sleep a lot. Sleep is also important to keep your immune system functioning and healthy. If you are finding sleep is elusive as your pregnancy goes on, talk to your doctor about possible sleeping aids that are safe to take during pregnancy.
6. Eat a well-balanced diet
A body is only as healthy as the food that fuels it, so eating the right food can improve your pregnancy experience. A woman needs to keep in mind that she is eating for herself and the baby, and eating the right food for normal delivery also helps the baby to grow healthily in the womb. The right type of balanced diet
includes generous servings of fruits and vegetables, dairy, proteins, healthy fats, carbohydrates, and fiber.
Folic acid is a needed staple in a pregnant woman’s diet, so foods such as spinach, beans, raisins, and meat such as mutton are a great way to include this in your diet.
Some important foods for normal delivery that help you have a healthy and well-balanced diet that is found in the Indian cuisine are:
- Tasty breakfast with Rava Upma that includes lots of vegetables
- Dal khichdi with a mixed vegetable curry and a bowl of curd
- Mixed vegetable uttapam
- Parathas with different vegetable or paneer stuffings
- Roti or paratha with sprouts and dal
- Jeera rice with peas
- Chicken curry with rice
- Grilled chicken with lots of fresh veggies
- Kofta curry and rice
- Mutton curry with roti or rice
Talk to your doctor about the right diet for you, and how to include
healthy foods if you are following a specific or special diet, such as a vegan or Keto diet.
7. Practice deep-breathing exercises
Deep breathing techniques promote relaxation and help the body to oxygen better around the body and for your baby. Deep breathing also is a great stress buster and can help your mind tackle anxiety. Employing deep breathing techniques while in labour can also help you remain calm and focused, and can even help you deal with the pain of contractions.
Below is a simple technique that you can try:
- Sit comfortably with back support.
- Release any tension you have in your body, concentrating on loosening your
shoulders, face muscles, and jaws. These are areas where we hold onto tension unconsciously as well.
- Pay attention to your breath at first, and don’t try to control it. Just observe your breathing.
- Start with a deep inhalation through your nose. Fill your lungs completely. When you breathe correctly, your abdomen should also protrude outwards.
- Then exhale through your mouth, and attempt to make the exhalation twice as long as the inhalation.
- Do this for a few minutes and notice the changes. This helps your body to relax and clears your mind.
8. Stay positive
Remaining positive through your pregnancy is one of the best tips for normal delivery and for you personally to have an overall positive birthing experience. After all, the miracle of life is manifested through you! This is an incredible experience, one that creates a special bond between you and your future child.
Being a mother is more than just carrying the baby, of course, but you are the one who has the privilege of life beginning within you. It is a testament to your strength, to the love you share with your partner, and to a future that is immeasurably better because of your child’s presence in your life.
Reminding yourself that your body is capable of being strong and powerful and having faith in yourself and your body’s capacity can help you remain positive through your pregnancy.
9. Stay hydrated
A pregnant woman requires more hydration than the average person as her body needs to form amniotic fluid, produce more blood, carry nutrients, enhance digestion, build new tissues, and flush out toxins. This is even more true during the summer when the body tends to lose more water than normal. A pregnant woman needs at least 8-12 glasses of water a day, which amounts up to 2-2.5L in total. If you are active and exercising, you’ll need much more water.
Some additional benefits of staying properly hydrated during pregnancy are:
- Increased energy
- Keeps the body cooler and prevents overheating
- Reduces any swelling in the body
- Decreases constipation and hemorrhoids/piles
- Decreases risk of urinary tract infections
- Softens skin
10. Managing weight
It is natural to put on some weight during pregnancy, but it is also integral that you do not become overweight. Being overweight can sometimes lead to an unplanned c-section, further health problems postpartum, and shedding those pregnancy kilos can become more difficult if you put on too much weight.
The best way to deal with baby-weight is to maintain a healthy lifestyle. This means healthy food cooked from scratch, regular exercise, and a good sleeping schedule. It is recommended that you exercise for at least 150 minutes per week. If you are just starting out, start with just a 5-minute walk. You can increase the time
every day until you reach a goal of 30 minutes, which is a good way to keep fit and healthy through your pregnancy.
– Exercising regularly, performing Kegels, and ensuring you eat the right nutrients can go a long way in ensuring a healthy delivery
– You should also consult with your gynecologist and choose your birthing partner ahead of time to smooth out the process
To stay healthy during pregnancy, consult a gynaecologist on MFine for expert guidance
Chapter 4: Benefits of Normal Delivery
While a normal delivery is often touted as the ‘natural’ way of giving birth, you might be wondering if there’s any actual medical benefits of opting for it. New research is showing that a normal delivery can actually offer several benefits for both mother and child. Here are the top science-backed benefits of having a normal delivery.
1. Quick recovery
Since a normal delivery is the “natural” method for your body to give birth, your body recovers much more quickly after birth than with other types of birthing methods, such as c-section or forceps delivery. Moreover, with constant medication and monitoring, many mothers feel groggy and in a haze even after birth, which allows them to be less present for the moments after delivery, such as skin-to-skin contact and breastfeeding.
A natural and normal delivery procedure releases a lot of oxytocin in the body, which can be an incredible experience to bond with a baby, and can also let a mother up and walking a few hours after giving birth.
2. Boosts immunity for child
There are a myriad of benefits for your baby during normal delivery. Babies that are born through the vaginal canal are shown to have more diverse gut flora, which plays an integral part in keeping a healthy immune system and overall wellness throughout a lifetime. This early improved gut health translates to a healthier adult as well, as research has shown that babies born through
c-sections are more likely to be hospitalised for asthma, allergies, inflammatory bowel disorders,
and immune system defects later in life. An important way that all babies develop healthier gut bacteria is through breastfeeding, so even if your child is born through a c-section, there are ways to improve your child’s gut health.
3. Avoids risk of major surgery
Though a c-section is now more common than ever, it is still a surgery, which can bring with it complications after birth. There is a prolonged recovery time for the incision and a longer hospital stay, chances of developing an infection at the surgery site, scarring from the incision, reactions to the anesthesia, and much longer-lasting pain. Moreover, it is better to have a normal delivery if you are pregnant with multiple foetuses, as women who have previously had c-sections are more likely to have c-sections with their subsequent pregnancies. This does not always need to be the case, as vaginal births after a c-section (VBAC) are becoming more common as well. Your doctor can tell you more about VBAC as an option.
Thus, if you are planning to have a normal delivery, then this can be the best option. However, it’s important to remember that you can have a complete recovery and a healthy baby through c-section too, so let your doctor guide you on the best option.
– A baby born through vaginal delivery will have higher immunity due to improved gut flora
– For a mother, normal delivery can reduce recovery time and help her bounce back faster
Considering a C-section? Learn from top gynaecologists on MFine about the benefits of a normal delivery today
Chapter 5: Normal Delivery Vs C Section
Before making a decision about which type of delivery procedure is right for you, talk to your doctor about your pregnancy and preferences. Most doctors recommend that if you are a healthy person and have a healthy pregnancy with minimal to no complications, it is best to prepare and opt for normal delivery. Moreover, since there are many advantages to natural birth, you may choose to have one even if there are a few complications. This decision will need to be made along with your doctor. Choosing to have a natural birth is an empowering decision that can help both you and your child in the long run.
However, you may also want to choose a c-section even if you have a healthy pregnancy. Both birthing methods make you a mother, and both methods have their pros and cons. Many women choose to schedule a c-section to avoid the complications from a normal birth,
such as tearing, incontinence, the pain of contractions, and future sexual dysfunction. Moreover, a c-section may be recommended by a doctor if the baby is too big to be birthed normally, or if you have too many complications that can affect your ability to give birth naturally.
In the end, the decision to choose a normal delivery or a c-section is to be discussed with your doctor. After knowing your medical history and understanding your body, your doctor can make the right recommendations with you.
Conditions that might make you go into emergency C-section
You may have planned to have a normal delivery, but keep in mind that sometimes plans may not work out. There may be many reasons why your planned natural birth can become an unplanned or emergency c-section at the last minute, such as:
i. Prolonged labour:
A labour is considered stalled if you are in labour for more than 20 hours if you are a first-time mother, 14 hours if you have given birth before. This can also happen if your cervix isn’t dilating normally. A doctor may take the decision to do an emergency c-section to avoid any complications and the risk of infection.
ii. Abnormal position:
A baby that is feet first or positioned sideways can pose complications for normal delivery. A doctor may try to push gently on your stomach to bring the baby into the head-first position but if it doesn’t work, an emergency c-section can avoid a lot of pain and complications down the line.
iii. Fetal distress:
During a normal delivery, your baby might not receive enough oxygen when coming through the birth canal, which is called fetal distress.
iv. Cord prolapse:
Cord prolapse is when the umbilical comes out through the cervix before the baby is out. This can reduce blood supply and oxygen for the baby, and in rare cases, leads to an immediate c-section decision.
v. Cephalopelvic disproportion:
If a mother’s hips are too small to support a baby’s birth vaginally, or if a baby’s head is too big, a doctor may make a last-minute decision to deliver the baby safely through a c-section.
vi. Placenta abruption:
The placenta may separate from the uterine lining, which can be dangerous for the baby as it loses its oxygen supply. An emergency c-section is required immediately in this case.
vii. Uterine rupture:
If you’ve previously had a c-section, the area where the incision was made may abruptly rupture and open, which could lead to an unplanned c-section birth.
COVID-19 outbreak and its effect on pregnant women
The second of COVID in India, caused by a double and triple mutant coronavirus, is said to peak in mid-May or June according to epidemiologists. The first wave of COVID in India was prevalent mostly among senior citizens especially ones with comorbidities. However, this mutant variant of coronavirus in the second wave is deemed more dangerous as the positivity rate among kids and teenagers is also extremely high.
Apart from this, the deadly COVID-19 outbreak has put pregnant women at heightened risk when compared to non-pregnant women, say studies. Preterm births and delivery by cesarean are one of the adverse side effects of COVID-19 infection in pregnant women. Pregnant women are also more likely to acquire respiratory issues if affected by novel coronavirus and those with comorbidities such as diabetes might develop serious respiratory conditions and require intensive care.
– Certain factors like cord prolapse, baby in breech and fetal distress can make an emergency c-section necessary
– The best option is to go with whatever your doctor recommends as they will know best
Consult experienced gynaecologists on MFine to know the benefits of normal delivery!
Chapter 6: Frequently Asked Questions on Normal Delivery Tips
Q1. How can I ease my morning sickness?
Unfortunately most women have to deal with nausea and vomiting in the first trimester of their pregnancy. While this tapers off by the 4th or 5th month for most women, some may continue to have it throughout their pregnancy. Always have smaller portions of food, and avoid eating anything spicy or fatty. Drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated. A doctor may prescribe medication if the nausea is too much to bear.
Q2. Is it safe to have sex while pregnant?
It is generally safe to continue having sex when you are pregnant, but talk to your doctor before you do. Some women who have a history of miscarriage are told to avoid sex in the first trimester, while women who have a history of going into labour early are told to avoid sex in the final trimester. However, for most women, having sex is safe and a great way to connect with their partner.
Q3. What foods should I avoid during pregnancy?
In the Indian diet, some of the foods to avoid during pregnancy are unpasteurized milk, seafood and raw fish, foods containing raw eggs, food that has been in the fridge and reheated, street foods, foods with too much salt, papaya, sesame seeds, Ajinomoto, refined flour, and
grapes among others. Talk to your doctor about your diet plan during your pregnancy.
Q4. How much weight should I gain during pregnancy?
It is normal to gain some weight during pregnancy, as your body needs the extra nutrients and food for the baby and upcoming birth. However, gaining too much weight can be unhealthy for both you and your baby, and sometimes even lead to an unplanned c-section due to the complications. Gaining about 8-12kgs is normal, and this depends on your BMI. An Indian woman with a low BMI can gain upto 18kgs, a woman with a normal BMI upto 16kgs, and an overweight woman upto 11.5kgs. Your doctor can tell you more about your particular body and its capabilities.
Q5. Which is the best way to sleep during pregnancy?
The ideal position to sleep during pregnancy is on your left side. This helps your heart to work better and your blood flows more optimally through your body. It is advised that you do not sleep on your back as studies have shown that this leads to a higher risk of stillbirth. Moreover, it adds a painful strain on your back. If you find yourself sleeping on your back , don’t worry and just turn to the side once again.
Q6. Can I take medications while being pregnant?
There are some over-the-counter medications that may be safe, such as aspirin and painkillers. However, before taking any medications, run it by your doctor.
Q7. Is bleeding during pregnancy normal?
Once you are pregnant, some bleeding and spotting is normal, but in any case, it is best to let a doctor or medical practitioner know. Sometimes it may be indicative of dangerous underlying conditions, so it is best to safe and inform your doctor of any bleeding or spotting.
Q8. Is it safe to travel while pregnant?
It is generally safe to travel during pregnancy, but most women avoid travelling in the first trimester due to morning sickness and general fatigue. You can also fly up to 36 weeks into your pregnancy, but get your travel plans signed off first with a doctor before booking the tickets.
Q9. When can I start to feel my baby move?
A woman may start to feel her baby kick anywhere from 18 weeks to 22 weeks. The feeling may be small at first, like a fluttering in your stomach, but as time goes on, you can even see your baby moving within your womb as it sends ripples across your stomach! This is an incredible feeling and one that you and your partner can enjoy together.
Q10. What are the earliest signs of labour?
All women feel the earliest signs of labour differently: for some, it may just be a very strong backache, it may be stomach discomfort that feels like heartburn for others, and some others can begin to feel the cervix soften and contractions beginning slowly. Water breaking is one of the most common as well. It need not be a gush but just a slow trickle
of fluid releasing that indicates the earliest signs of labour. Once you reach 36 weeks, it is best to be aware of all changes and inform your doctor if you feel the earliest signs of labour.
On MFine, you have access to a wide range of experienced gynaecologists in your city. Consult with them and get the best medical advice from the comfort of your homes!