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5 ways a C-section and natural birth are more alike than you realise

C-section or natural birth

When you're considering the options you have for giving birth to your baby, there are two choices: C-section or natural birth. You can squeeze your baby out the "natural" way, or opt for an op that you'll most likely be awake for. Sure, most women are "designed" to exit their babies through the gift shop, and no, not everyone who goes through a C-section necessarily "needs" one, but for many, the sunroof is an attractive option. Whatever your preference or medical needs, you need to do what you think is best for your body and your baby. And while you're doing it, know there are at least five ways that your fellow soon-to-be mums will be going through exactly the same thing you are.

C-section or natural birth? Here are five ways they're more alike than you might think they are.

1. You are the boss of your baby’s birth. You and your baby are the most important people in that delivery room, and no one knows what works best for you but you. So if there’s something you want, communicate it. Want your mum there singing waiata? Kia ora! Communicate it. Don’t want the meds? Cool, communicate it. Want to bury the placenta in your backyard for a sacred ritual when you’re done? Fair enough, communicate that you’ll be needing a container to take it home in. It’s your birth, and you are the master of your birthing fate...

2. Well, until you are not. You can have the stage management of your birth completely mapped out, but the health of you and your baby is why everyone else is there. Nobody wants a dramatic birth story – but they happen. And when they do, you need to be prepared to suck up any disappointment and fear, and let the professionals get you safely through.

3. Because your baby can’t stay in there. In those last weeks before your due date, you’d be forgiven for wondering whether it wouldn’t just be better to stay pregnant forever – after all, you’ve managed the stretch marks, frequent bathroom breaks and pregnancy aches so far – rather than face the process and pain of removing an entire human from your body. But remove it, you must. Although many labouring women experience a moment during the transition phase (right before you're ready to push that baby out) where they decide that they're not actually going to have a baby today after all, and they're going to pack up and go home right now, thank you very much. Rejoice! This means the end is nigh!

4. And there will be some pain. The reality is, it’s not comfortable having your stomach sliced open and it’s not comfortable squeezing something the size of a watermelon out of your body. Of course, there’s pain relief available – and there’s no shame in choosing to use it – but at some point the meds will wear off and the aches and pains will make themselves known. There will be some pain no matter what way you tackle it.

5. But you'll get a baby at the end of it. Whether you're having a C-section or natural birth, your baby will still be born during the experience, and you won't be a mum-to-be any longer – you'll be a mum! And no matter how your baby arrives into the world, it's a miracle and you deserve to feel proud of yourself for growing them inside of your body and undergoing birth in whatever form it occurs for you. C-section or natural birth: Either way, it's still birth. Congratulations, Mama!

Bonus tip for the first-timers: Get disposable mesh panties for that post-birth period so you won't have to worry about dealing with gory undies in the wash when you're tired and sore. Trust us on this.

Check out Breastmates' range of helpful maternity aids, including homeopathic formula Birth Mix which is made specially to help support your body and emotions as you prepare to give birth.
Image courtesy of Sharon at Bloom Photography (bloomphotography.co.nz).
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