The benefits of natural birth

There are some clear benefits for mom and baby that a natural birth has over that of a caesarean. Stock photo.
There are some clear benefits for mom and baby that a natural birth has over that of a caesarean. Stock photo.
Image: 123RF/ Nat Bowornphatnon

I have recently given birth to my second child.

I was blessed to have another natural, physiological birth.

What I have realised over this past season where myself and many friends have been welcoming new additions into the family is that the recovery looks very different when comparing a natural birth to a birth via caesarean.

It had me thinking. If the recovery is so vastly different, could the actual birth process be different in terms of the effects on mother and child?

After doing a bit of research we can clearly see why we are designed to give birth the way that we are.

There are some clear benefits for mom and baby that a natural birth has over that of a caesarean.

However, given pregnancy complications and health risks for mother and child, there are clear, life-saving benefits that come with a caesarean, thanks to our amazing medical advances.

One of the many perks of a vaginal delivery must be one of the more obvious — far less pain after delivery and a shorter stay in the hospital.

Once your delivery has taken place, it’s over — there are no pain medications to be taken, you are able to move around freely and look after your baby without any limitations.

A caesarean is an incredibly invasive surgery and mothers are expected to care for another life while trying to recover, while sleep deprived and using her own body to feed her child. This is no easy task.

Vaginal delivery also allows for the immediate ability to breastfeed.

After C-sections, the mother often needs to wait to be stitched up and stabilised, which can take a while.

This means that the child will not be able to latch and feed immediately after birth, which allows for a great bonding opportunity between mother and child as well as heightens the chances of a successful, exclusive breastfeeding journey.

It also protects the newborn from picking up an infection and reduces infant mortality.

The hormones that cause labour to start and progress actually help the baby get ready to be born, which reduces the chance of problems such as breathing difficulties.

There are also many benefits for the baby when it comes to a vaginal delivery.

As the baby passes through its mother’s birth canal they are exposed to healthy, beneficial bacteria.

This healthy bacteria contributes to building the baby's immunity, while also fighting off harmful bacteria from entering the baby's digestive system.

This healthy bacteria also coats the baby's skin externally and prevents the growth of harmful bacteria.

Studies also show that babies born vaginally typically have a lower risk of developing conditions such as asthma, food allergies, food intolerances, child onset diabetes, immune system disorders and are less likely to become obese.

A specific study done in 2012 confirmed that among the risks of caesarean delivery are neonatal depression due to general anaesthesia, fetal injury during hysterectomy and/or delivery, increased likelihood of respiratory distress even at full term, and breastfeeding complications.

I want to make it particularly clear that I am in no ways against birth by caesarean.

In fact I think it is incredible how far our medical science has come that we are able to deliver babies in this manner.

I think it’s a wonderful option to have and can’t imagine how many lives (both mothers and babies) have been saved because of this delivery method.

Having said this, if both mother and child are healthy and there is an option at hand, I would always encourage the mother to try and deliver her child the way it was originally designed. Our bodies are made to do this!

There is a reason we were designed this way and I do think there is something to that.


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