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Having a Vaginal Birth in Northern California


If you’d like to have a vaginal birth, you’re planning to push your baby through the birth canal (vagina). While most women can have vaginal births, some require Cesarean sections (C-sections) for their safety or the safety of their babies. However the majority of births in the US are vaginal births.

Dignity Health North State offers expertise in all areas of maternity care, including vaginal births, in Northern California. Find a Doctor at our maternity and family birth centers to learn more about our personal care during labor, delivery, and every stage of your pregnancy.

 

Why You May Have a Vaginal Birth vs. a C-Section

Typically, babies are delivered vaginally unless there’s a medical reason to be delivered by C-section instead. 

Advantages of a vaginal birth include:

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

A vaginal birth may not be a good option, and your doctor may recommend a C-section, if:

  • You have an active genital infection, such as herpes
  • Your baby needs to be delivered immediately
  • You have placenta previa, when the placenta covers or partially covers the opening of your cervix 
  • You or your baby have a health condition that could make vaginal birth too risky

If you’re pregnant with more than one baby or had a previous C-section, you may or may not be able to have a vaginal birth. If your doctor gives you the OK to have a vaginal birth after a C-section, you’ll commonly hear it referred to as a “VBAC.” 

 

What to Expect from a Vaginal Birth at Dignity Health North State

Every labor and birth is different. Your vaginal birth experience will depend on your baby’s position, the progress of your labor and birth, and the choices you and your medical team make together during labor.

During labor and delivery, a nurse will carefully monitor you and your baby. When your cervix — the entrance to your womb — is fully dilated, it’s time to push. Doctors and midwives at Dignity Health North State will guide your birth and support your well-being all along the way to ensure a positive vaginal birth. Immediately after birth, they’ll check you and your baby to make sure you’re both doing well, and you’ll deliver your placenta. If needed, your doctor will then repair any vaginal tears (or your episiotomy, if one was done).

 

Recovery After Vaginal Birth

It’s normal to feel sore and tired for a while after a vaginal birth. Contractions continue sporadically in the hours and days following birth. These contractions, called afterpains, feel like strong menstrual cramps and help your uterus return to its pre-pregnant shape. Over-the-counter medication such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help.

About six weeks after your vaginal birth, you’ll check in with your doctor for a postpartum checkup to make sure you and your baby are happy and healthy.

Dignity Health North State provides trusted care during vaginal births Mt. Shasta, Red Bluff, and Redding, CA.