Many women going through their first or even a subsequent pregnancy find themselves somewhat conflicted about their plan for giving birth. There are many different options available for childbirth, and the majority of women often feel pressured to make the "right" decision not only for themselves, but also for their unborn child. These childbirth options can often be divided into two categories. Those categories are natural methods and medical interventions. So that you can feel better about the decision you and your pregnancy care team (ob/gyn, doula, midwife, etc...) make for your childbirth plan, get to know some of the factors you should consider in your decision making process.
Whether or Not You Have Had Pregnancy Complications
One of the factors to consider when making your childbirth plan is whether or not you have had any health issues or complications throughout your pregnancy. For example, if you have had gestational diabetes, hyperemesis gravidarum, or preeclampsia, these conditions need to factor into your decision-making process.
While suffering from serious pregnancy complications does not automatically mean that your birth experience will be equally complicated, you will not want to attempt a natural home birth or any type of birth without medical supervision in a hospital setting. Doing so could put you and your baby at risk. You could, however, attempt a natural birth in the hospital and only opt for medical interventions (like a cesarean section surgery) if your health or your baby's health become jeopardized.
Your Previous Childbirth Methods and Experiences
If you have already had a child, you also need to keep in mind the childbirth experiences you have already had when making your decision for this pregnancy. While no two pregnancies or childbirth experiences are exactly the same, certain factors will affect subsequent pregnancies.
When your previous pregnancy ended in a cesarean section, for example, it can be difficult to have a successful and safe vaginal delivery with your next child. The scar tissue in the abdominal wall and uterus can increase complication risks if you attempt to deliver naturally after a cesarean section and many medical professionals would advise against it for their patients because of the risks.
If you have your heart set on a natural birth even if you have had a previous cesarean surgery, you will need to work closely with your ob/gyn to monitor your pregnancy and childbirth progression. You will also need to be prepared for the possibility that you may still need to get an emergency c-section. Alternatively, if you had an otherwise natural childbirth experience but experienced tearing or other complications during your previous childbirth experience, you may need an episiotomy or prefer to schedule a c-section ahead of time to avoid repeated problems.
Now that you know some of the factors to consider when choosing between natural childbirth and medical interventions, you can better make the right decision for yourself and your unborn child.