Is there a right way to give birth?

March 21, 2019 | by Kinley Berger, MD
Categories: Healthy Driven Moms

This blog originally appeared on the Healthy Driven Chicago website.

These days, there are many options for labor and delivery. The thing to remember is there’s no right or wrong way to give birth. It’s a matter of selecting what you feel most comfortable with and what’s best for your family.

Here are a few of the most common in-hospital options:

Natural childbirth

Although a natural birth can mean different things to different people, it most commonly refers to a vaginal birth without pain medication. Many women are attracted to this option because it allows them to feel they have greater control over their bodies. Of course, should you change your mind at any point during the labor process, you can still have access to different pain management options.

Childbirth using pain management options

Women who opt for a traditional hospital birth usually have a vaginal birth with pain medication. There are many pain management options available to a laboring patient.

  • IV or intra-muscular (IM) pain medications: One option is IV/IM pain medication to help ease the pain. Many women choose IV/IM pain medication to ease the pain prior to wanting or getting an epidural, while other women may choose to have IV pain medication as their only source of pain management through the laboring process.
  • Nitrous oxide: Elmhurst Hospital is the first in DuPage County to offer nitrous oxide — a tasteless, odorless gas inhaled through a mask — as a pain relief option for women in labor. It can provide relief for pain and anxiety during labor with no known long-term effects on mom or baby.
  • Epidural: Most women will opt for an epidural during the laboring process. Studies have shown greater than 80 percent of women are satisfied with pain relief through an epidural. This is in comparison to about 30-50 percent of women being satisfied with other pain relief options during labor. There is no “right” time to get an epidural, as this is individualized to the patient and labor situation.

Caesarean section (c-section)

A c-section is a surgical delivery method that involves removing the baby through an incision in the mother’s abdomen. It can be the fastest way to delivery if there is an emergency with the mother or baby. It has been known to save lives and is used when medically indicated.

C-sections can be scheduled due to breech presentation or history of prior c-sections, or can be unscheduled due to complications in the delivery process.

If you’re pregnant, talk with your doctor about your options for labor and delivery. Every expectant mom’s situation is different and your doctor can help you pick the right labor and delivery option for your situation.

Learn more about pregnancy and baby services at Edward-Elmhurst Health.

Find an OB-GYN or midwife.

Read related blogs:

8 options for a more comfortable labor

Demystifying c-sections: what every expectant mom should know

Overdue and overeager? Learn natural ways to induce labor

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