For many moms, planning for your baby’s arrival can even start before you find out you’re pregnant. Not surprisingly, delivery brings great excitement, along with questions and concerns for both mom and baby’s health and safety. The CDC estimates about 3 of 4 women have a vaginal delivery with minimal complications– but in the U.S. 33% of moms are delivering via cesarean.
Cesarean births have increased by nearly 60% since 1996. For moms with complications like placenta previa or fetal distress, a cesarean can save the life of mom and baby– which is amazing! But the CDC estimates as many as 30% of cesarean births are unnecessary or elective– with many doctors and women alike siting the cesarean delivery felt ‘safer’ or ‘easier’. But this is not the case.
A typical, vaginal delivery does come with some risks too, like tearing or minor lacerations, and of course pain–not to mention it can happen anywhere, anytime! It isn’t hard to see why an elective cesarean might seem like a good option– but many complications are increased with cesareans in comparison to natural deliveries, these include:
- maternal organ damage
- excessive blood loss
- blood clots
- long-term pain
- extended recovery time
- a doubled mortality rate for baby versus vaginal deliveries that proceed naturally
PLUS.. Due to the nature of a cesarean, it also takes longer for women to return to an active routine, making postnatal health and fitness more difficult!
What The Birth Canal Is Built For & What Moms (& Docs) Are Doing
Scientists are now studying the stage of birth, as baby is progressing through the birth canal. Newer studies are proving the presence of good bacteria– bacteria that colonizes baby’s tummy and strengthens their system for the outside world in a natural delivery. The Journal of Pediatrics published a doctorate paper researching the high concentration of bacteria in the vaginal canal, and found that it may help reduce complications for baby such as:
- milk intolerances
- immune complications
- food allergies
- celiac disease
These studies have so astoundingly proven the benefits to baby that some doctors and moms are practicing a post cesarean colonization– yes– innoculating babies with bacteria from the vaginal canal, or by rubbing vaginal fluid on the breasts while in the early stages of nursing, to introduce these necessary bacteria to baby. So if you do require a cesarean, there are still ways to help your baby reap the benefits of what your body naturally provides.
While these methods might surprise you, the last decade has shown a three-fold in the prevalence of many of the related health issues in North America, and we want to make sure that every mom has access to information about postnatal and neonatal health.
We hope that you can choose the safest delivery method for you, and encourage you to talk to your doctor about any of your concerns regarding delivery and recovery.