Decide how to deliver your baby

Depending on how many weeks you are into your pregnancy, your health care practitioner’s expertise and/or philosophy, and whether you are experiencing any complications, you may be offered the choice to deliver your baby

  • vaginally, with labor natural or induced by medication,
  • by Caesarean section (C-section), or
  • by dilation and evacuation (D&E).

Ask your health care practitioner to explain each procedure to you in detail. Here are some questions and considerations that will help you decide which option is right for you.

  • Ask your practitioner about the risks and implications for each delivery method, both for this delivery and subsequent pregnancies.
  • If it is important to you for your baby to be born alive (or intact) — even if he or she will only live for a short time — find out which delivery method will give your baby the best chance of being born alive.
  • If it is important to you to remember the details of your baby’s delivery and the hours afterwards clearly, find out which delivery method will allow you to be mentally alert during the procedure and afterwards.
  • Ask your practitioner if any preexisting medical conditions you have will rule out certain delivery methods.
  • Ask your practitioner which delivery method(s) he or she would be able to perform, and which delivery method(s) would need to be performed by a different doctor or at a different facility.
  • If you will be delivering vaginally, find out whether you are required to take medications to induce or whether it is safe to wait and go into labor naturally, if you prefer.
  • Find out which delivery method will allow you to have your partner, family member, midwife, doula, and/or birth assistant with you, if you prefer.


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Article by Kay Squires, with special thanks to Valerie, Holly, and Marion, and the members of the PROM mailing list
January 2005, updated July 2011