Bringing a baby into the world is one of the most thrilling and terrifying moments of your life. You finally get to meet your new child and start a chapter of your story together. But it’s also one of the most physically rigorous things you will ever have to endure. And it can still be intimidating, especially if you’re a new mom without a lot of background information.
But don’t despair. As with anything, understanding is key to conquering fear. And understanding just a little about the different types of delivery for pregnant women will help you bring your little one into the world.
Delivery through the birth canal is the most common delivery type. However, even here, there is some variation. There is what people refer to as “natural birth,” or vaginal delivery without any medical assistance. But in some cases, assisted vaginal delivery that involves the help of essential maternity health equipment can protect both mother and baby.
Forceps or Vacuum Delivery
When delivery requires help, doctors will utilize tools to gently guide the baby’s head out of the birth canal. Doctors may use forceps, large spoon-like instruments, to cup the baby’s head and pull. Or they may use a small vacuum pump. Once the baby’s head is free, the mom can usually push the baby out with relative ease.
If a baby’s shoulder becomes stuck behind the pelvic bones, doctors will need to perform an episiotomy. This involves making a surgical cut between the vaginal opening and the anus. While uncomfortable, this will enlarge the opening, easing delivery.
When a vaginal delivery isn’t possible, pregnant women must undergo a different type of delivery. If the baby’s head is too large for the canal or the baby is positioned wrong, doctors may need to perform a cesarean section, or c-section, surgery. During this operation, doctors make a surgical incision in the abdomen and uterus and deliver the baby through it.
Because of the nature of c-sections, they’re typically more difficult to recover from than vaginal deliveries. You may be in the hospital for two to four days after delivery. Delivering vaginally may be difficult for subsequent deliveries as well, though not necessarily impossible.