Stats reveal that nearly one-third of the babies in America are born through C-section. Cesarean delivery is of two types, elective and emergency. Elective C-sections are those that are planned and the emergency C-sections are done once the labor starts but doesn’t proceed due to various complications. There has long been a debate about the health impacts of infants born vaginally Vs C-section, let’s discuss them in this article.
Delivery and childbirth are never easy. There is often a taboo that vaginal delivery leads to fewer complications in the mother and the baby compared to babies delivered through C-section. Though true to an extent, it is important to note that both types of deliveries have their pros and cons. Here are some of them.
Babies delivered vaginally have better immunity than those born through C-section. It is because babies that are born through the natural birth process are exposed to maternal bacteria from the mother and hence, develop a good immune system. The gut microbiome that is transmitted from the mother to the baby helps fight diseases, allergies, and other ailments.
When the cervix dilates and the baby is pushed through the vagina, the fluid in the infant’s lungs drains and the infant takes the first breath. On the other hand, there are chances that the baby may develop breathing problems after a C-section. Anyway, this is a rare occurrence, and babies born through Cesarean delivery are equally likely to breathe well after birth. But, please note that you should have completed 39 weeks of gestation before you opt for a C-section for the infant’s lungs to get matured. Avoid unnecessary C-sections before 39 weeks unless and until there’s a complication.
Though a rare occurrence, fetal distress is something that should be addressed immediately. During labor or childbirth, babies may pass meconium in the amniotic fluid or have a decreased heart rate because of fetal distress. These are the situations when emergency C-section would save the baby.
It is a regular practice for mothers to have skin-to-skin contact immediately after vaginal delivery. Science tells us that there are a lot of benefits to doing so. It helps in bonding, relieves fetal stress, soothes the baby, and induces the mothers’ hormones for producing breast milk. The uses are aplenty. Earlier, moms who underwent C-section didn’t have the option to have skin-to-skin contact with their newborns in the operating room. But, times have changed and since moms are fully awake during the surgery, doctors help the baby achieve skin-to-skin contact immediately after the operation and the benefits achieved are the same.
Vaginal birth is the most natural form of delivering a baby and hence does a lot of good to the mother and the newborn in terms of immunity, better health, and fewer complications. But, it is also important to understand that C-section is also a form of childbirth and when the pros outweigh the cons, a Cesarean could be a lifesaver.