There are many benefits of vaginal delivery, for both mother and baby. During a vaginal delivery the amniotic fluid is squeezed from the baby's lungs, making it easier for him or her to breathe. This does not happen as much during c-section.
Furthermore, it is a misconception that c-section is always safer for babies than vaginal delivery. Scalpel injuries and trauma to babies during c-section, although rare, can certainly occur. In most cases vaginal deliveries are safer for mothers than c-sections, with some medical studies indicating that the chance of death for a mother is 7 times higher when delivered by c-section versus vaginally.
Contrary to popular belief, a c-section is a major operation, not unlike a hysterectomy in it's complexity and potential complications! These complications may include infection, hemorrhage, scar tissue formation (which may produce lifelong abdominal or pelvic pain), anesthesia complications, opening of the skin incision leading to a very large scar, damage to the bladder or intestines, and the formation of blood clots within blood vessels or the lungs.
These complications are usually much more common with c-sections than vaginal deliveries, although as with all medical issues the patient's individual situation will dictate which complications are more, or less, likely.
An unfortunate side effect of our legal system is that many women are led to believe by malpractice lawyers that a c-section will prevent any and all problems for their baby. This is simply untrue and is a very unsophisticated way of looking at this major operation and pregnancy in general.
D. Ashley Hill, M.D.
Associate Director Department of Obstetrics and