Navigating Birth Choices: Natural vs. C-Section and Busting Common Birth Worries

Every woman embarking on the remarkable journey of bringing new life into the world faces a pivotal choice: natural birth or cesarean section (C-section). In this guide, we'll explore the nuances of each option, address common birth worries, and empower you to make informed decisions for your unique birthing experience. Ultimately, your health and personal preferences will be the guiding force in planning the birth of your baby.

Understanding the Differences: Caesarean vs. Natural Birth

Each method has its own set of considerations, and understanding these differences empowers expectant parents to make informed choices aligned with their unique preferences and circumstances.


Debunking Common Birth Worries

Myth 1: A planned caesarean birth is safer for your baby.

Your healthcare professional won't typically recommend a C-section unless specific complications arise.

Having a C-section comes with risks to both you and your baby. There is a 1-2% chance of your baby being cut during a C-section, although most will heal without long term problems.​

There is also a very small increased chance of babies born by C-section developing asthma later on in life (1 in 55 vs 1 in 67 after a vaginal birth), becoming obese as a child (1 in 22 vs 1 in 25 after a vaginal birth) and dying in the first 28 days of birth (1 in 2,000 vs 1 in 3,300 after vaginal birth).

Myth 2: Inducing labour is more painful.

Inducing labor may indeed be associated with increased discomfort. However, pain relief options such as pethidine injection and entonox (laughing gas) may be requested to manage the pain. It is usually manageable (like a menstrual cramp) until you are sufficiently dilated for epidural!

Myth 3: I am old! I should do a C-section.

Age alone doesn't dictate the need for a C-section.

Instead, various factors, including overall health and pregnancy conditions, guide this decision.

  • Health: Conditions like high blood pressure, heart problems, and other health considerations may influence the choice of a C-section for a safer delivery.
  • Baby's Size and Gestational Diabetes: Concerns about a baby being too large or the presence of gestational diabetes may lean towards a C-section to prevent complications like shoulder dystocia.
  • Baby's Position: If the baby doesn't turn into the optimal position for a vaginal birth by ~ week 36, a C-section might be recommended to ensure a safe delivery.

Myth 4: I don’t want to end up having an emergency C-section.

There is a good chance of achieving a successful vaginal birth: 2 in 3 (if you are a first time mum) and 4 in 5 (if you have given birth before). Factors contributing to the birthing process can be diverse.

Staying healthy is the best way to increase your chance of a successful vaginal birth.

Myth 5: I did an emergency C-section for my first child, so my second child will have to be a C-section.

Experiencing an emergency C-section with your first child doesn't necessitate the same for the second. Discuss your unique situation with your healthcare provider for personalized guidance.

Myth 6: Choosing a vaginal birth increases the risk of needing forceps or a vacuum delivery.

Only approximately 1 in 8 women have an assisted vaginal birth (using vacuum cup or forceps or both) and majority of babies born this way are well at birth and do not have any long term problems.

There are ways to reduce your chance of needing an assisted vaginal birth, such as using an upright position or lying on your side after your cervix is fully open in labour, and trying to delay pushing until you have a strong urge to push (depending on your individual situation).​

Myth 7: I am afraid of episiotomy and a third or fourth degree tear!

It's normal to be apprehensive, but it's common for the perineum to tear during childbirth. Up to 9 in 10 first-time mothers who have a vaginal birth will experience some tear, graze, or episiotomy, with most tears healing quickly. 

Only about 3 in 100 women experience a third- or fourth-degree tear (tear which involves the muscle of the anus or rectum) and majority will heal and have no long-lasting complications


Empower yourself with knowledge, trust your instincts, and embrace the transformative journey ahead. Your choices shape this momentous experience, ensuring that your birthing experience aligns with your preferences and individual circumstances. For a quick recap, check out our summary on IG here. Share it with friends if you found this guide helpful! For more in-depth information, consider exploring the patient information leaflet provided by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists: Considering a Caesarean Birth. Knowledge is your greatest ally on this unique and empowering journey.

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