Childbirth - Vaginal Delivery and Newborn Care

This is the delivery of a baby through the mother's vagina, or birth canal.

This is the delivery of a baby through the mother's vagina, or birth canal.

A vaginal childbirth is the delivery of a baby through the mother's vagina, or birth canal.

  • A natural vaginal birth does not use anesthesia or other painkillers during labor and delivery.
  • Otherwise, vaginal birth may include anesthesia or other painkillers during labor and delivery.
  • Vaginal birth is in contrast to delivery by cesarean (C-section), which is occasionally necessary for the health of the mother and/or child.

A normal pregnancy lasts about 40 weeks from the first day of the last menstrual period. A woman's first office visit typically occurs when she is about eight weeks pregnant. Experts, including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, encourage women to take childbirth education classes. These classes can lead to a more satisfying childbirth experience. (Your partner assumes the role of “coach” during this experience.)

  • There are a number of birthing methods that can help you and your coach successfully manage your labor. A few options are Lamaze, the Bradley method and water birthing. However, there are many others.
  • Childbirth education classes for you and your coach usually focus on one birthing method. Your healthcare provider can help you decide which method is best for you.
  • A vaginal childbirth usually only requires a brief hospital stay.

Once you have confirmed your pregnancy, it may be helpful to decide:

  • Who do you want to deliver your baby? Do you want an obstetrician, your family doctor (if he or she delivers babies), or a nurse midwife?
  • How do you want to deliver your baby? You will need to choose a birthing plan and decide under what circumstances you want to use medications for pain.
  • Do you want a hospital or home birth?
  • Do you want to nurse your baby? If so, find out who will be available to help you.
  • Whom do you want to care for your newborn; a pediatrician or your family doctor? Either healthcare provider can provide a newborn's care. It may be helpful to meet the person you choose before the delivery.
  • If you have a boy, do you want him circumcised? If you are undecided, who will help you make your decision?


Also known as:

Vaginal Delivery
Vaginal Childbirth
Normal Childbirth
Natural Childbirth
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