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Exploring Your Delivery Methods

Delivery OptionsAs you and your partner discuss your delivery methods with your physician or nurse midwife, it’s important to understand what’s involved, and to be prepared should your circumstances change. Just remember that your ultimate goal is a safe delivery, and a healthy baby and you. 

Vaginal Birth

Most women have their baby through vaginal childbirth. Even if you’ve previously had a caesarian section (c-section), with your practitioner’s consent, it’s possible to experience vaginal childbirth after c-section (VBAC), too. Either way, it’s completely natural for you to feel excited about having your baby, but be a bit nervous about labor and delivery. 

If your pregnancy is healthy, you may be able to wait for labor to begin on its own. In a vaginal birth, your uterus contracts (tightens up and then relaxes) to help you push your baby out through your vagina. 

If your labor is slow to begin, you may be offered medicine to help induce or start your labor. As you explore your delivery options, you may prefer natural childbirth using breathing and relaxation exercises or plan to use intravenous pain medication or an epidural.

While having a birth preference in mind gives you an opportunity to prepare for the birth experience you want, it’s also a good idea to give yourself permission to adjust your plan – in the moment – as you experience labor and delivery, too.

Water Birth

If you have a healthy pregnancy free of complications, you may want to consider a water birth. Delivering in water has recently been gaining ground as an alternative for some moms-to-be. In 2008, Women’s Hospital first began offering water births as a labor and delivery option. Since then, more than 200 babies have been delivered at our hospital this way.

Midwives educate and care for you from pregnancy through delivery. Our dedicated team of certified nurse midwives, obstetricians and gynecologists, and other medical providers provide 24/7 support throughout your delivery and act quickly if any issues arise.

Why consider water birth?

For some mothers-to-be, a water birth may feel more natural, less stressful, and offer more control and mobility during your birthing experience. Since water is naturally buoyant, you may feel lighter and more deeply relaxed during labor.  You may experience less pain, and require little or no medication. The baby can also experience a gentler transition when being delivered.

At Women’s Hospital, you can choose to labor and deliver in the water or move out of the water for the actual delivery. If you deliver in the water, your midwife will gently lift up and take your baby out of the water.

Ask your doctor or midwife if they support this option and attend the class to educate you and your partner on the materials needed.

Caesarean Section

A caesarean section or c-section is a surgical procedure that may be scheduled in advance or may occur when issues arise during labor. Even if you are considering a vaginal birth, in case things change during your pregnancy or labor, knowing what to expect during a c-section will help you feel prepared.

With a c-section, the baby is delivered through an incision in your belly and uterus. In most cases, you are awake during the birth, and are able to be with your baby soon afterward. Nearly one in three babies are delivered in the U.S. by c-section each year.

If you have had a previous c-section or your pregnancy makes this the safest alternative, you and your physician will set a date close to your due date. 

Scheduled Caesarean Section

Several weeks before your scheduled c-section we suggest you pre-register for care with Women’s Hospital. Then, a few weeks prior to your procedure, our Women’s Hospital staff will call you.

  • Our Cone Health Pre-Service Center will verify your information and insurance, provide estimated costs, and arrange payments.
  • A Pre-Operative Scheduling staff nurse will call to review your medical history and set up an appointment at Women’s Hospital about one week prior to your c-section.  
  • Our Pharmacy staff will contact you to review medications you are currently taking.

During your pre-operative appointment, you’ll complete your paperwork, a nurse will take your vital signs and complete any physician-ordered tests, and you’ll receive instructions related to the day of your c-section, including when to stop eating and drinking. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to ask any questions.

When you arrive at Women’s Hospital Maternity Admissions Unit the day of your procedure, after completing your admission paperwork, you’ll be able to go directly to the Day Surgery area [or Operating Unit?]. Your family is welcome to join you until it’s time for you to go into the operating room with your designated support person. In most cases, you’ll be able to hold your precious newborn a short time after your c-section is complete.