A vaginal birth refers to the process of a delivering a baby through the birth canal, or vagina. The majority of births in the US are vaginal.
At Dignity Health Southern California hospitals, our caring doctors and staff partner with you throughout your pregnancy, offering a range of services, including vaginal delivery, in Southern California.
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Why Choose Vaginal Birth
The most natural and normal birth process is through the vagina; babies are typically delivered this way unless there’s a medical complication or other reason that requires Cesarean section (C-section).
The primary benefits of vaginal birth are:
- Shorter stay in the hospital
- Low risk of infection
- Faster recovery time
- Decreased risk for respiratory problems in the baby
Your doctor may not recommend a vaginal birth if:
- You or your baby has a health condition that could be made worse by labor and birth
- Your placenta covers or partially covers your cervix opening (placenta previa)
- Your baby needs to be delivered immediately
- You have an active genital infection such as herpes
If you’re pregnant with more than one baby or you’ve had a prior C-section, ask your doctor about your delivery options. A vaginal birth after a C-section is called VBAC.
What to Expect from Vaginal Delivery at Dignity Health Southern California Hospitals
During your labor, your health care team will monitor you and your baby. You’ll be encouraged to start pushing when the entrance to your womb (your cervix) is fully dilated. You’ll be given support and guidance to help you push. Once your baby is delivered, the placenta will follow. Your doctor or midwife will repair any tears that may occur, including from episiotomy, after the placenta is delivered.
Vaginal Birth Recovery
In most cases, you’ll be tired and sore after vaginal birth. This is a natural part of the process. You may have sporadic contractions that feel like strong menstrual cramps in the hours and days after giving birth. These are normal and help your uterus return to it’s pre-pregnancy shape. Ask your doctor about medication to relieve discomfort during this time.
If you have problems urinating or passing a bowel movement in the days following a vaginal birth, try squeezing warm water from a bottle onto your perineal area.
It’s normal to have a vaginal discharge in the weeks after birth, but tell your doctor if you have any foul-smelling vaginal discharge or if you develop a fever.
You’ll meet with your doctor for a postpartum checkup six weeks after birth. Most women wait until then before having sex.
Our care team at Dignity Health offers comprehensive pregnancy services, including vaginal birth, in Southern California.