While most women are comforted by the thought of using the most up-to-date technologies, an increasing number of women are looking for other options. However, those numbers are still relatively low: 98.7% of women still give birth in hospitals, while just 1.1% go to a birthing center and only 0.2% do it at home.
No matter your preference, it’s important to gather enough information to make a decision that best fits your personal needs.
When preparing for birth, be sure to take note of the following:
- Are you giving birth at home, in a birthing center or in a hospital?
- How is your health and what is your medical history?
- Are you giving birth naturally or using anesthesia?
- Are you being assisted (doula, midwife) or not?
- Will you be using electronic fetal monitoring?
This happens when the baby is delivered through the birth canal with both powerful abdominal and uterine contractions (pushing). In 2001:
- 56,500 women had a vaginal delivery in Quebec (81.5%)
- 52% had an epidural (that number exceeded 70% in certain parts of Quebec)
- 30% had local anesthesia
- Only 16% gave birth completely naturally
- Close to one-third (30%) of vaginal births resulted in an episiotomy
- 11% required vacuums
- 5% required forceps
Caesarean section (also known as a “C-section”) happens when the child is extracted from the womb through an incision in the uterine wall. The word “Caesarean” comes from the Latin word “Caesar,” which means “child born through an incision.” In 2001:
- 12,800 women in Quebec delivered by Caesarean section (18.5%)
- 89% had an epidural
- 10% had general anesthesia
- 1% had local anesthesia
C-sections last about 25 minutes, of which it takes only 90 seconds to actually extract the child.
Disadvantages and risks of C-sections
- Complications of anesthesia
- Risk of bladder, bowel, ureteral and vascular lacerations
- Higher risk of vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolisms
- Severe anemia
- Prolonged hospitalization and an increased risk of re-hospitalization due to infection
- Later first contact with the newborn
- Delay in initiation of breastfeeding and an increased risk of failure
- Prolonged postpartum pain and longer recovery
Advantages of C-sections
- Lower risk of urinary and fecal incontinence
- Sexual function less affected in the first three months
Vaginal birth after Caesarean (VBAC)
As its name suggests, VBAC happens when birth is given naturally following a C-section from a previous pregnancy.
- In 2001, 34% of women who previously had a C-section had a vaginal birth. That number, 25 ago, was only 1.5%.
- OBGYNs recommend VBAC rather than repeated C-sections because it’s considered safer.
- Eight women out of 10 who had a C-section could eventually give birth naturally.