How would you like to give birth? This becomes a hot topic of conversation very early on in pregnancy. Your gynae, friends and family members all want to know how you are going to bring your precious bundle of joy into the world.
The first thing you need to know about birthing options in South Africa is that there is no right or wrong way to give birth. It all depends on your pregnancy, your health, where you live, what facilities you have access to and, of course, what’s best for your baby.
Here are 4 different ways you can give birth in South Africa:
Caesarean section (c-section) operation
You can opt for an elective c-section if you don’t want to give birth naturally or if your doctor foresees any birthing complications. However, if there are any risk factors nearing the end of your pregnancy or during the birthing process, you may have to have an emergency c-section. Most women are conscious during their c-sections unless an emergency situation calls for general anesthetic. The baby is removed via a major abdominal surgery, which is seen as a safe operation for both mom and baby.
Many South African women are choosing to have elective c-sections for various reasons, including the fact that it’s more convenient for doctors to schedule a c-section and some women have had negative experiences giving birth naturally. In many other countries, you cannot choose to have an elective c-section.
You will probably need to stay in the hospital for three to four days after the operation and your body can take more than six weeks to heal.
Vaginal labour and delivery in a hospital or birthing centre
This is known to most expecting moms as the “usual” or “normal” method of childbirth. A mother will give birth through her vagina following labour in a maternity facility. You may opt for medical interventions to assist your delivery.
For any vaginal labour and delivery, your body will need time to heal. As each woman is different, there is no specific time frame, but you can expect about a 6 week recovery period.
Delivery at home
You can give birth at home with the assistance of an experienced midwife. You may not be allowed to deliver your baby at home if you have complications during your pregnancy. Women opt for home births for various reasons. Usually a homebirth is associated with a relaxing birthing experience that can involve friends and family.
You should have an obstetrician you can call in case any complications arise during the birthing process.
Water birth delivery
With a water birth entails, at least part of your labour, delivery or both happen in water. Usually, a birth pool is filled with warm water. This can take place in a birthing center, in a hospital or at home with the assistance of a midwife or doctor.
Many women opt for water births because they believe this process makes delivery less painful and more relaxed. The process is usually safe if essential hygiene precautions are taken and the mom and baby are healthy.
So which is the best option?
Unfortunately, there is no overall best solution as every mom and baby is unique. The best way for you to choose how you’d like to give birth is to do your own research on the different options.
Just remember that you have rights. If you feel as though you’ve been a victim of medical negligence, speak to a legal representative today.