Normal Vs. C-section – Which is better?

The last few months of pregnancy are an exciting time. Your due date is nearing and the time when your little one will be in your arms is just around the corner. Although the third trimester of pregnancy can be a little more taxing on your back and the body, it is also the time to make the big decisions before the birth of your child. One of the things that you need to think about seriously other than your third-trimester checklist is how will the delivery happen.

Majority of pregnant women have a Normal delivery, also known as natural birth if they are not facing any complications or issues that hinder natural birth. However, when there are potential problems in the vaginal delivery of your baby, the doctor may suggest going through a Cesarean section birth. Although the choice between these two is not always in your hand, it is better to be aware of everything about them and which is better, c-section or normal delivery.

Cesarean Sections vs Normal Birth: For Mothers

The way a baby is brought into the world affects both the mother and her child differently. What a mother experiences during childbirth is vastly different from what the child is experiencing at that time. In this section, we are focusing on the benefits of both normal birth and cesarean sections for mothers.

Benefits of Normal Birth for Mothers

  1. One of the main benefits of having a normal delivery is that you take less time to recover after birth since the postpartum pain is also less in this case. Since there are no big surgical procedures involved, the time taken for healing is lesser as compared to cesarean sections.
  2. Since there is no surgery and shorter hospital stay after a normal birth, it is less expensive to deliver a baby this way too.
  3. Studies have shown that the risk of maternal mortality is less in a normal delivery as compared to c-section.
  4. Most women who have normal delivery express higher feelings of satisfaction, accomplishment and empowerment. They are active participants in the interaction and bonding with their child right after birth too. 
  5. Doctors recommend that you should start breastfeeding as soon as possible after birth and that is easily done after a normal delivery. Vaginal delivery is an intense process and mothers are usually less awkward or uncomfortable during breastfeeding after that.
  6. Without any surgeries or stitches, there are no scars, surgery-related infections, blood clots or negative reactions to anaesthesia. 
Woman giving birth via normal delivery

Usually, vaginal deliveries don’t possess any major risks for the mother or her child. However, some women do experience unusually long and painful labours before their little one finally arrives. In some cases, excessive bleeding and vaginal tearing are also known to happen. These are the most common disadvantages of having a normal delivery.

Benefits of Cesarean Section for Mothers

  1. A cesarean section is usually suggested by your doctor if there are pregnancy complications and problems with normal delivery. So, with a cesarean section, you can overcome them and safely have your baby. 
  2. A c-section is a very planned process where the details are discussed and sketched out with your doctor beforehand. It adds an element of safety and security, making the mother more comfortable with the birthing.
  3. There is no tearing or injury to the vagina in a cesarean section, causing no physiological problems in your sexual life in the time after birth.
  4. In case a mother is having twins or more children, multiple births are easier with c-section rather than delivering them via normal births.
  5. This risk of you getting any pelvic floor injury is reduced exponentially in a c-section birth.
  6. Since this is a pre-planned surgical procedure, you won’t have to go through the labour pains or other excruciating parts of a normal delivery.
Doctors doing a c-section procedure

When we consider which is better, c-section or normal delivery, there are definitely more risks involved in a cesarean section. Some women have negative reactions to the anaesthesia given while others struggle with breast milk production after birth. If the surgical procedure is not done with best practices, there are also chances of you getting infections and wounds. Sometimes, a later normal delivery after c-section also becomes impossible. Be sure to discuss all the possible disadvantages of going through a c-section with your doctor first.

Cesarean section vs Normal Birth: For Babies

Benefits of Normal Birth for Babies

  1. There are a number of birth defects and other diseases that babies are less likely to have when born via vaginal delivery. These conditions include respiratory problems, pulmonary hypertension, asthma and even lactose intolerance.
  2. A baby is less at risk of damage to his/ her internal organs and any blood clots when delivered naturally.
  3. According to a study in the Yale School of Medicine, babies born through natural birth have better neurobehavioural and physiological functions. In short, their brain development is triggered earlier than that of c-section babies.
Newborn baby after normal delivery

There are very minimal risks of mild injury to your child in normal delivery. If the risks are more than that, your doctor will most likely recommend a cesarean birth rather than a normal birth.

Benefits of Cesarean Sections for Babies

  1. One of the main benefits for a baby delivered through c-section is the lack of trauma he/ she has to experience. Since the baby will not have to go through the narrow birth canal, they don’t feel that pressure and are safely taken out of the mother’s body surgically.
  2. Another benefit here in the c-section vs normal delivery discussion is that a baby born this way has fewer chances of getting affected by any infections carried by the mother. 
  3. Sometimes, a baby’s position inside the womb is abnormal or not ideal for normal birth. In these cases, cesarean sections solve the problem easily. 
  4. Similarly, if the baby is too large to go through the vagina, he/ she can simply be delivered through the c-section method.
Newborn delivered through a cesarean section

Babies born through a c-section are sometimes at risk of having chronic disorders or breathing problems. To avoid these issues, discuss everything with your doctor when you are looking into the details of cesarean sections.

In an average pregnancy, when you consider c-section vs normal delivery, both of them are safe ways to bring your child into the world. In recent times, women are also considering the option of water births depending on the availability of reliable medical facilities for the same. Whatever option you may go through, be sure to check everything with your gynaecologist and make informed decisions about it. The answer about which is better, c-section or normal delivery is entirely subjective to your own pregnancy. Every baby is different and so is every pregnancy, it is a matter of embracing and enjoying your own journey to motherhood!

FAQs about C-section vs Normal Delivery

Q1. Can you have a normal delivery after a c-section?

Ans. Having normal delivery after previously having a c-section is commonly known as Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC). There are some things to consider if you want to have a VBAC, here are a few of them:

  • VBAC is likely to be better if you are young and your labour starts spontaneously. 
  • If you have had a normal delivery in the past, it might be slightly easier for you as opposed to someone who has never had it before.
  • If the problems that caused you to have a c-section last time are still present or if your baby is too large, then you are not recommended for a VBAC.

It is best to consult your doctor about everything in detail before making a decision.

Q2. Are normal deliveries better than cesarean sections?

Ans. Inferencing from all the pros and cons mentioned above of both cases, we can conclude that normal birth is a very natural way of bringing your baby into the world. It is comparatively, a simpler and cheaper procedure that the majority of mothers experience. While there are times when it is inevitable to have c-section, normal deliveries are generally considered better.

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