Types of Childbirth and Delivery Methods

Introduction:
Childbirth is a life changing experience for women both physically as well as emotionally. Bringing a new life to this world comes with its share of responsibilities. The process of giving birth is not that easy and requires a great amount of effort from the mother’s side. This article will provide more information about the different methods by which the process of child birth can occur.

Happy Child and mother

Methods of childbirth

The fetus grows and develops in the mother’s uterus (womb) for 9 months before the mother gives birth. The basic principle of giving birth is that, the uterine muscles contract and push the developed fetus out. Childbirth usually occurs after completion of 9 months of pregnancy. But in some cases it may happen earlier depending upon the health of mother and fetus. Different methods through which this can happen have been outlined below:

VAGINAL DELIVERY

This is the most commonly used method by obstetricians to deliver a baby. This method involves minimum surgical intervention. The mother is made to lie comfortably on her back with legs spread apart. The obstetrician may perform a small surgical incision along the vagina (episiotomy) to enlarge the vaginal opening and facilitate expulsion of the fetus. The mother has to perform a lot of pushing in order to exert pressure on her lower abdominal muscles. This force contributes majorly in helping deliver the baby. Sometimes, vaginal delivery may require assistance from external devices. Forceps delivery and vacuum delivery are the two commonly used methods.

  • FORCEP DELIVERY: This method makes use of forceps to assist with the delivery. The forceps are used to hold the baby’s head and gently pull it out. This method is not a surgical procedure and is used only to assist vaginal delivery.
  • VACCUM DELIVERY: A vacuum of pre-determined intensity is created using a suction cup. The cup is attached to the baby’s head and the force of vacuum is used to pull the baby out. This method is also known as kiwi delivery.
    Both these methods are extremely safe and do not cause any harm to the baby or mother. They are utilized if the uterine contractions and mother’s effort are not succeeding in expelling the baby out of the uterus.
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BREECH DELIVERY

This is a variant of vaginal delivery. The entire procedure is the same except for the way baby is expelled out of the mother’s uterus. In most cases, the baby’s head is the first part to come out of the vagina followed by the rest of body.¬†At times the position of the baby within uterus is such, that buttocks or legs come out before during delivery. Breech delivery employs means to facilitate delivery in such cases. It may take longer time than those cases when the baby comes out head first. It is a type of vaginal delivery with slight changes.

CESAREAN DELIVERY
This is a surgical method employed to delivery a baby and requires putting the mother under influence of anesthesia. The method is employed in the following cases:

  • Emergency delivery in case of premature labor pains
  • Poor maternal health
  • Health problems in fetus
  • Pre-planned delivery in cases where normal delivery may prove to be harmful for mother or child or both.

Care is taken while administering anesthesia to the woman, to avoid any harmful effects to her or the baby. A horizontal incision is made on the lower portion of abdominal skin and the uterus is accessed. The uterus is incised carefully to extract the fetus. The procedure can be done through minimal access method using a laparoscope or by old school method. The woman is unconscious throughout the procedure

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DELIVERY WITH EPIDURAL ANALGESIA

Giving birth involves the mother to face a lot of pain as the baby comes out of her womb. Sometimes the expectant mother may not be able to bear so much pain due to low pain threshold or other health reasons. In such circumstances, epidural analgesia is administered. The woman is conscious throughout the procedure. The amount of pain felt is much lesser than vaginal delivery without analgesia. The medicines which are administered make sure that the pain factor associated with child birth is negated to quite an extent.

What happens after the baby has been delivered?

Childbirth is not completed only by delivering the baby out of its mother’s womb. After the baby is taken out, the umbilical cord has to be cut. Before cutting the cord, it needs to be secured with a good quality clip.¬†Umbilical cord is attached to the placenta, which has to be expelled out of the womb as well. Placenta is the means through which the growing fetus receives nutrition. But after delivery it needs to be removed out of the uterus, else it will cause harm to the mother. The placenta is removed through vaginal route irrespective to the method used for child birth. It is very important that the placenta remain completely attached to the uterus till after baby has been delivered properly.

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Complications associated with childbirth:

Complications may arise during child birth which could be harmful to the mother as well as the child. The list of complications has been given below:

  • Excessive hemorrhage from the uterus
  • Separation of placenta from the uterine wall before delivery of baby
  • Difficult labor, leading to respiratory problems in the baby
  • Delayed labor pains
  • Injury to mother or baby due to instruments used to assist smooth delivery
  • Side effects of anesthesia during cesarean delivery.

These are just a few commonly encountered problems associated with child birth. There could be other complications as well. But with appropriate medical skill and timely intervention these complications can be managed very well.

Child birth is a seemingly normal process involving great effort from the mother as well as the doctor. It is important for pregnant women to consider different aspects of childbirth before experiencing the process. If all instructions provided by the doctor are followed well, child birth will be an easy and smooth experience without any complications.

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