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Side Effects of C- Section Vs Natural Birth

A pregnant woman can deliver either through a normal delivery or a cesarean section if any complication persists. The basic aim of both the procedure is delivering a healthy baby. Many women are often worried about the side effects of C-section and natural birth. This article deals with side effects of C-section vs natural birth.

Side Effects of C- Section Vs Natural Birth

Side Effects of C- Section Vs Natural Birth

C-section is mostly performed when natural birth seems risky or the woman may be suffering from a medical condition such as diabetes or high blood pressure, making vaginal delivery difficult. C-section is also done in women who have an infection such as HIV or genital herpes and it might pass on to the baby during vaginal birth. It can also be planned if the mother has a small pelvis and she is delivering a large baby or if the baby is in a breach position i.e. legs downward.

While natural birth is painful, the pain in natural birth is not long lasting as compared to C-section. It lasts until the baby is delivered, but in C-section, the pain and discomfort in the abdomen surrounding the surgical scar are for a longer time. It is because the nerves and skin around the scar need time to heal.

Side Effects of C-Section

C-section is a major surgical procedure which comes with surgical risks and complications. Some of the commonest side effects of c-section include the following

Longer Hospital Stay – Women who deliver their baby via C-section has to stay in the hospital for 2- 4 days. It is because it is a surgical procedure and there are increased chances of pain, infection or long lasting soreness at the site of the incision. The postpartum recovery period is longer as compared to vaginal deliveries. This is one of the main side effects of c-section that must be considered in c-section vs natural birth.

Blood Loss – There is an increased risk of blood loss in the women undergoing a cesarean section. Some women might even require a blood transfusion after the procedure, another important side effect of c-section.

Injury – There is a risk of bowel and bladder being injured during the procedure, and also there can be the formation of a blood clot underneath the site of the incision. There are chances of injury to other tissues or to the baby by the scalpel during the incision of the abdomen. This must be considered while discussing C-section vs natural birth.

Infection – Just like any surgical procedure, there are higher chances of infection after the cesarean delivery. Inflammation of the tissue lining of the uterus and infection too is one of the common side effects of c-section.

Recovery Period – The recovery period is longer after C-section. Women may feel pain and discomfort in the abdomen, as the nerves, blood vessels, and surgical scar may need time to heal. This is a noteworthy side effect of c-section when considering c-section vs natural birth.

Difficulty in Breastfeeding – Due to the pain and discomfort after the procedure, the mother finds it difficult to breastfeed the baby and may not be able to immediately get in contact with the baby.

Side Effects of Natural Birth

The process of undergoing labor and delivering the child through vaginal delivery can be physically exhausting for the mother. This process bears a lot of benefits, but there are some shortcomings as well. While considering c-section vs natural birth, let us understand the side effects of natural birth.

Tear of Skin and Tissue Around the Vagina – During the natural birth, movement of the fetus through the birth canal can lead to stretch and tear of the skin and tissue. A severe tear can lead to an injury to the pelvic muscles which control urine and bowel function. Women might need stitches or can also lead to weakness. This is one of the major side effects of natural birth and must be understood when considering c-section vs natural birth.

Bowel and Urinary Incontinence – Women undergoing delivery vaginally are more prone to suffer from urinary and bowel incontinence, than those who undergo C-section. There may be a leak in urine while coughing, laughing, or sneezing. This too is one of the important side effects of natural birth and can be a major concern.

Injury to the Infant – One of the most important side effects of natural birth is injury to the infant. Long labor can lead to injury to the baby during the birth process which includes bruising, swelling and in some rare circumstances broken bones. In cases where a forceps or vacuum extractions are used, there are chances of physical trauma. The baby might face oxygen deprivation if the cord compresses.

Uterine Inversion – Uterine inversion is a very serious condition in which the uterus turns inside out. It is a very rare case but can occur after natural birth. It is a life-threatening complication and if not treated early can lead to severe hemorrhage, shock and even the death of the mother.

Pelvic Organ Prolapsed – It is a condition when the pelvic organ prolapses from its original location and protrudes in the vaginal canal. It happens due to the weakness of the muscles supporting the pelvic organs. When women experience a tear or episiotomy, she might have pain during intercourse for few months after the baby’s birth.

These side effects of natural birth often need to be managed and treated appropriately to avoid complications.

Thus, when considering c-section vs natural birth, the side effects of both need to be evaluated and based on the woman’s health condition, an appropriate decision must be taken.


Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 2, 2023

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