Different Types of Birth

Even if you are planning to have a natural birth, sometimes complications can develop during pregnancy or when you are in labour, and these might impact on your birth preferences. As part of your preparations for your baby’s birth it would be helpful for you to find out about different types of birth. We recommend that you download and read the leaflets from the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (RCOG) where indicated below.

The information in the leaflets is to help you better understand your pregnancy, health and your options for treatment and care. Your healthcare team is there to support you in making decisions that are right for you. Your Midwife or Consultant will be happy to discuss your situation with you and answer your questions.

Here is a quick overview of the different types of birth.

Spontaneous vaginal birth

is where the mother pushes her baby out through her vagina. A spontaneous vaginal birth is natural and possible for most mothers. It is associated with quicker recovery, easier bonding & attachment, breastfeeding, less need for pain relief drugs, reduced perineal tears and episiotomies.

Assisted vaginal birth

is when a healthcare professional uses specially designed instruments, either forceps or ventouse, to help you give birth to your baby. For more information, please download this leaflet:

What is involved in an assisted vaginal birth

Caesarean Section

is the surgical delivery of a baby usually performed when vaginal delivery poses a risk to the mother or the baby. However, having a caesarean section also carries its own risks. Doctors will not recommend a caesarean section unless it is necessary for medical reasons.

If you are thinking about having your baby by a ‘planned’ or ‘elective’ caesarean section when there isn’t a ‘medical’ reason to do so, please download this leaflet:

If you have had one caesarean section previously and want to know more about your birth options when having another baby, please download this leaflet:

Breech Birth

is where the baby is lying bottom first or feet first in the uterus (womb) instead of in the usual head-first position. If your baby remains in the breech position after 36 weeks of pregnancy, or you wish to know more, please download this leaflet:

Multiple Birth

means having more than one baby at the same time. This is most commonly twins but may include triplets or more. If you are having a multiple pregnancy, please download this leaflet:

Twin Births - How will my twin or multiple births be managed?