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Myths and Facts about Natural Childbirth

Dr. Simi Haris, Consultant Gynaecologist and Infertility Specialist, SUT Hospital, Pattom

It very common to ask whether the childbirth is natural or Cesarean. In reality, Is childbirth that comfortable?

A normal delivery is defined as natural childbirth after 37 weeks of pregnancy. A normal delivery is preferable. Malayalam word ‘Sukha Prasavam’ comes true when the mother and the baby return home healthy.

Let’s see who is likely to have a natural/normal delivery:

  • Those who do not have any obstetric or non-obstetric diseases eg: diabetes, hypertension, etc.
  • Or those who are ill and bring it under control, feels labor pain with or without medication.
  • Delivery without the help of anaesthesia by feeling intense pain is also said to be normal childbirth.
  • Painless delivery with the help of Epidural anaesthesia is also considered as normal delivery.

Amidst the screams in the delivery room, the pregnant woman was persuaded to give birth and when she came out, the bystanders sitting outside the labor room would ask, ‘Was it a smooth delivery?…’ she would say ‘yes’ even though she was worried. One may wonder if the word normal delivery or natural delivery is more appropriate in such situations.

Let’s see how a normal delivery is possible:

After the completion of 37 weeks, labor pains may start or water may break. The pain usually starts within two hours after the breakage of water. If the pain doesn’t initiate even after the breakage of water, the pain can be caused by medicine (pills or drip).

How to initiate labor pain if it is not started naturally?

Those who do not have any other diseases can wait up to 40 weeks. Pain medications are then given – either as a pill or as a drip. Tablets can be taken orally or by other means. Pills are often more effective than the drip. Pills should be taken at least five times at 4 to 6 hour intervals. If the pain starts, break the water and then starts the drip. If there is no pain, if the health of the mother and baby is satisfactory, the medicine can be repeated after a break.

The first labor can be eight to ten hours after the onset of labor pain. Epidural anaesthesia can be beneficial for those who cannot tolerate pain. This can reduce the risk of caesarean section due to unbearable pain. Epidural anesthesia is very useful. So, if you have that facility, you should definitely take advantage of it.

Benefits of a natural and healthy delivery:

You will be able to take care of yourself and your baby without the help of others as soon as after normal delivery.

  • Infection rate will be less.
  • There will be less complication during any surgery and other complications in the future.

A lesser thought but most important fact is that if the first delivery is cesarean it is more likely to be the second also caesarean so the situation can be avoided. After two surgeries, the possibility of adhesion between the organs is very high. Therefore, if any surgery is required in the future, there is a risk that the intestines and bladder will be injured when the abdomen is opened and it can be life threatening.

Similarly, hernia and abdominal pain may also occur in the future. So for the first delivery, it is better to wait patiently and prefer a normal delivery.

Normal childbirth is not a very pleasant situation, but if we give birth cooperatively, peacefully, and patiently, it will be pleasant in the future; Then we will understand and realise that the normal delivery was better.