Either way, the baby comes out!
Dr Elizabeth van Wyk, gynaecologist, answers typical questions about natural births and caesarean sections.
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Natural birth

Is an episiotomy necessary?
An episiotomy is only necessary in 30% of women with their first babies.

Will I be conscious and fully aware of what is happening if I have a pethidine injection?

No, you will not be fully conscious and may feel detached. The baby may also have respiratory depression but this is reversible.

Can an epidural lead to paralysis or backache?

This only happens in rare cases.

When is a forceps delivery or vacuum extraction used?

It is only indicated when the mother cannot push the baby out and delivery needs to happen soon.

Caesarian section


Will I feel something?

If a spinal anaesthetic or epidural is not effective, general anaesthetic will be necessary.

Will I be incapacitated afterwards?

You will have to spend the first day in bed but can move around from the second day.

Will I be in pain afterwards?

You will experience pain for one week afterwards.

How long will I have to stay in hospital?

Three to four days but complications could necessitate a longer stay.

Will it affect my ability to bond with my child?

Many women are concerned about this because the baby isn’t given to the mother straight away. (The baby is taken away for check-ups by a paediatrician). There is no evidence that this impacts negatively on bonding.

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