For expectant mothers, it is natural to worry about the delivery process and the pain it may cause. They may also have difficulty choosing between natural childbirth or caesarean section. In fact, both methods have their own distinct characteristics. Gynecologists will recommend the most suitable method of childbirth based on the mother’s condition and wishes. Prenatal checkups are a very important part of this process, as it allows pregnant women to understand which method is best for them. In addition, these checkups also allow gynecologists to analyze ways to minimize pain during delivery, helping pregnant women through this critical period together.
What is natural childbirth?
Until now, most pregnant women elect to give birth naturally. The baby is born through the mother’s vagina, resulting in smoother breathing. There is also no need for anesthesia. This method of childbirth is relatively safe, and satisfies the needs of expectant mothers and babies who wish to go through the process of birth together.
It has been pointed out that older mothers must give birth via caesarean section, but that is not the case. If a gynecologist verifies that the patient’s physical condition can cope with natural childbirth during prenatal checkups, older patients may try to give birth naturally.
Some pregnant women may worry that they will experience a uterine prolapse, varginal laxity, or urinary incontinence during natural childbirth. During prenatal checkups, medical staff will guide pregnant women through various prenatal exercises, such as pelvic floor muscle exercises. This helps tighten muscles in the anus and vagina, restore function of pelvic floor muscles and increase muscle stability, thus greatly reducing many after-effects that may occur after natural childbirth.
The most common deterrent for pregnant women who opt for natural childbirth is experiencing “level 10 pain” during delivery. Fortunately, with technological advancements in obstetrics and gynecology, there are now many ways to help pregnant women manage pain during childbirth.
- Laughing Gas: Long adopted by the medical profession, and known by its chemical name of “nitrous oxide”. During childbirth, a patient may signal medical staff to prepare “laughing gas” for relief if labour pains are unbearable. Generally takes effect about 45 seconds after inhalation. Because of its limited and less pronounced effectiveness, it is mostly used as an auxiliary pain relief method.
- Analgesic Injection: An injection of pethidine may be administered with a gynecologist’s approval. Some pregnant women worry that analgesic injections may affect the breathing of the fetus. Depending on the conditions, the gynecologist may vaccinate newborn babies to relieve any possible effects of painkillers, so mothers need not worry.
- Epidural: Also known as “painless delivery”, it is the most pronounced and effective pain relief method for pregnant women during labor. An anesthesiologist places a catheter on the pregnant woman’s back before delivery, through which anesthesia or analgesics will be injected. This will temporarily stop nerves from transmitting pain while also retaining the ability of uterine muscles to contract, allowing for a natural childbirth.
Many expectant mothers worry about the risk of labour analgesia. In fact, the risks associated with this technique are similar to other medical procedures, such as headaches, temporary weakness in lower limbs, fever, dizziness, nausea, and vomiting. Other serious complications are rarely seen.
Labour analgesia is suitable for natural childbirth or caesarean section. If the mother’s cervix fails to open effectively during delivery, or the obstetrician finds the fetus’ breathing to be uneven, regional anesthesia may be arranged immediately to facilitate a caesarean section. Expectant mothers should carefully discuss and communicate these situations with their gynecologist during prenatal checkups.
In reality, not all pregnant women are suitable for natural childbirth. For example, if the gynecologist discovers complications with the fetal position (such as transverse and placenta previa, etc.) during prenatal checkups, they may recommend a caesarean section. It may also be recommended for premature delivery, multiple births, or if a delivery process experiences delays (may suffocate the baby). In addition, if a pregnant woman has undergone two or more caesarean sections, it will be more difficult for her to undergo natural childbirth in the future. In these cases, caesarean sections may become necessary for delivery.