You mean there is more than one way of giving birth? Sometimes women don't have a choice; but often they do. Whether it’s completely drug-free, a caesarean section, a water birth or induction. Find out what your childbirth options are.
Pain relief is an individual choice, and many mums-to-be have a ‘drug-free’ labour at the top of their birthing plan. You can choose to receive an injection once your baby is born to help you deliver the placenta – or you can deliver it naturally on your own. There will be pros and cons of not using drugs during childbirth, be informed about the pain relief options just in case and remain flexible during your labour – after all it’s the happy healthy mum and bub that we’re aiming for at the end, not how you achieved it.
Many women today are giving birth by caesarean section or C-section. This is a surgical operation that involves making a cut in the woman’s abdominal wall to take out the baby. Running along the topmost section of the pubic hairline, it leaves a scar that usually fades over time. Previously, a Caesarean was performed only when a woman couldn’t deliver her baby vaginally. Today it may be performed for several reasons, for example, to speed up delivery when the woman experiences an abnormal labour; fetal distress, when the umbilical cord comes out prematurely or is wrapped around the baby’s neck; or the baby is in breach position.
Water childbirth, as the name suggests, is when you deliver your baby in water. It is a safe method of delivery and more and more hospitals are making this option available to mums. Your baby will be fully submerged when they are born then brought out of the water to breathe. This may sound weird as we humans can’t breathe under water but remember your baby has actually been floating in water the entire time inside you, so it’s no different for them.
Labour is induced when it is started artificially, before it spontaneously occurs. There are many reasons why women can be induced such as being overdue, giving birth to multiples, or having maternal high blood pressure. There are many ways of inducing labour:
- Artificially rupturing the membranes: This means ‘breaking the waters’ or rupturing the amniotic sac. This method is sometimes used in conjunction with other methods of induction.
- Prostaglandin: A gel may be inserted into the cervix with the aim of softening and thinning the walls of the cervix. This method may be individually used or in a combination with oxytocin.
- Oxytocin: Is a hormone naturally produced by the body which brings on contractions. A synthetic form of this hormone can be used in small doses if other methods of induction don’t work. It is given intravenously to bring on contractions.