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Having a vaginal birth

A baby normally exits the womb through the birth canal, or vagina. Most deliveries in the US are vaginal births. However, not all women are good candidates for a vaginal delivery, as different medical reasons can make it unsafe for the mother or the baby.

With four convenient birthing centers, Dignity Health in Central California offers a full range of labor and delivery services, including vaginal birth. Our obstetricians and maternity care staff provide quality care for vaginal births, whether you wish to use pain medication during delivery or experience a natural birth

Find a Doctor near you to learn more about the personalized childbirth experience you can have at one of our birthing centers.


What to expect: vaginal birth

The birthing experience is different for each woman. Your baby’s position in the womb, the occurrence of a high-risk pregnancy, and other factors can influence your labor and delivery options.

At Dignity Health, you can expect compassion, humankindness, and respect at every stage of your pregnancy, labor, and delivery. Your obstetrics team will provide care that is personalized to meet you and your baby’s needs. 

With most vaginal births, you can expect: 

  • Low risk of infection
  • Quicker recovery
  • Shorter hospital stay
  • Decreased risk of respiratory problems in the baby

Childbirth classes at Dignity Health can help you prepare for a vaginal childbirth.


Recovery after a vaginal delivery

Even in the midst of the excitement of bonding with your newborn, it’s normal to feel tired and sore after a vaginal birth. You may also experience contractions, called afterpains, that can continue for the next few hours or days. Your care team can help you manage these pains and any other problems, such as difficulty urinating and moving your bowels.

About six weeks after birth, you will visit your doctor to ensure you’re healing normally. During your postpartum checkup, talk to your doctor about any concerns you have, including caring for your baby or resuming sexual activity.

Visit a Dignity Health physician for ongoing care before and after your pregnancy. 

Maternity services at Dignity Health can help you prepare for a vaginal birth in Bakersfield, Merced, and Stockton, CA.

Learn more about the Lauren Small Children's Center

Lauren's Story

The Lauren Small Children's center is named after Lauren Paige Small, a Bakersfield girl who inspired the community through her brave two-year battle with cancer.

Read Lauren's story