Types of Childbirth: Delivery

By Lee Morgan
birth of a baby image by Steve Lovegrove from Fotolia.com

Childbirth is one of the most significant moments in the lives of parents. When a new child is born, it often changes the lives of one or more people dramatically over many years. The birth itself can take on many forms. Various medical conditions or circumstances as well as the mother's preference can affect the way a child is born and determine its delivery method.


Natural childbirth has been the delivered method throughout history prior to advances in medicine. Despite the ability for medical professionals to make the mother more comfortable during the process, many mothers choose to deliver their babies in this way, without the use of drugs or invasive procedures.

The advantage of natural childbirth is that the woman is in complete control and may feel more of a sense of accomplishment after the child is born. Additionally, there are no dangers of drug side effects or procedures that may harm the mother or the child. The parents can also work together as a team to manage the pain during this type of birth.

The disadvantage of natural childbirth is obviously the significant pain involved. This is why many mothers choose to get an epidural to relive the pain below the waist. This is a safe option with minimal risks, and done regularly in hospitals.

Cesarean Section

When circumstances make a vaginal birth risky for the mother or baby, or when certain complications arise in the pregnancy, it may be necessary for a doctor to perform a Cesarean section to remove the baby. This procedure happens in about one in four births, according to the Medline Plus website.

A Cesarean section, commonly called a C-section, is a surgical procedure in which the surgeon makes an incision in the mother's abdomen and physically removes the baby. Common causes for a C-section include health concerns for the mother, the position of the fetus, a vagina too small for the baby to pass properly, or distress for the unborn child. This is a safe surgery, but a major procedure involving risk and slower healing.

Breech Birth

A breech birth happens when the fetus does not turn to a headfirst position before the delivery. Instead, these babies attempt to come out of the vagina feet first, which can threaten their lives and cause other complications.

Many breech babies arrive by Cesarean section, but sometimes the doctor can manually turn the baby and allow for normal delivery. Breech babies are more common with premature births or when there is a multiple birth. According to FamilyDoctor.org, unusual amounts of amniotic fluid may cause a breech birth as well. If the position of the baby goes uncorrected, it can lead to serious injury during the birth.

Water Birth

A water birth is a method of vaginal delivery in which mothers give birth to the baby while submerged in warm water. The theory is that since fetuses develop in amniotic fluid, the birth will make the delivery less stressful to the baby and more comfortable for the mother.

This method increases the mother's energy, lessens body weight, makes contractions more efficient and lowers anxiety levels, according to the American Pregnancy Association.