In a vaginal birth, the baby is born through the birth canal. It's hard to know when exactly you will go into labor, but most women give birth at around 38-41 weeks of pregnancy.
The nation’s largest ob-gyn organization recommends that pregnant women plan for vaginal birth unless there is a medical reason for a cesarean. In new guidelines issued in 2013, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says maternal-request cesareans are especially not recommended for women planning to have several children, nor should they be performed before 39 completed weeks of pregnancy. Benefits of vaginal delivery:
Of course, we know that not all births happen the way we plan. When complications arise, other methods of delivery are available.
A cesarean section or C-section is the delivery of a baby through a surgical incision in the mother's abdomen and uterus. In certain circumstances, a C-section is scheduled in advance. In others, it's done in response to an unforeseen complication. Events that may require C-Section:
In the past, a C-section ended any hope of future vaginal deliveries. But today, thanks largely to changes in surgical technique, VBAC is possible in many cases. In fact, an estimated 75 percent of women who try VBAC have a successful vaginal delivery. VBAC isn't right for everyone, though. Sometimes a pregnancy complication or underlying condition prevents the possibility of a successful VBAC. Many local hospitals don't offer VBAC because they don't have the staff or resources to handle emergency C-sections.
A vacuum extraction is a procedure sometimes done during the course of vaginal childbirth. During vacuum extraction, a health care provider applies the vacuum (a soft or rigid cup with a handle and a vacuum pump) to the baby's head to help guide the baby out of the birth canal.
A forceps delivery is a type of operative vaginal delivery. It's sometimes needed in the course of vaginal childbirth. In a forceps delivery, a health care provider applies forceps (an instrument shaped like a pair of large spoons or salad tongs) to the baby's head to help guide the baby out of the birth canal.