Browse categories

9 Types of Birth: How to Choose?

Childbirth is a unique moment that for various reasons remains imprinted in mothers' memories.
Seconds after birth, the mother looks at the baby who has filled her imagination for months. 

The arrival of a baby into the world is an unforgettable moment full of expectations and doubts. 
Caesarean or n
atural In the comfort of home or with the structure of a hospital ? Of squatting or in the bathtub ? It is inevitable that these and so many other questions.



Regardless of the type of birth chosen, for the experience to be positive, it is essential that the mother's opinion and wishes are taken into account and respected at all stages, even when there are unforeseen events.

There are benefits and disadvantages to each type, and it may be more or less suitable depending on the family's preferences and the baby's development . To make the best choice, talk a lot with your obstetrician.

We present 9 possible alternatives:

Mãe com recém-nascido no colo depois de parto normal hospitalar (Foto: Getty Images)

Mother with newborn in her lap after normal hospital birth (Photo: Getty Images)

1. Normal or Vaginal Delivery 

What is it? 
The baby is born vaginally. The expression is used to indicate all types of births that are not surgical. A normal birth can be hospital, at home, squatting, lying down, in the bathtub, with or without the application of anesthesia. It can also be humanized or not. 

Benefits: The mother's recovery is usually faster than a cesarean because it is not a surgery. Ideally, the newborn can go directly into the mother's arms, have skin-to-skin contact, and are breastfed soon after delivery. For the baby, the main advantages are less likely to develop respiratory problems, as the contractions of the vagina make the little ones expel any fluid retained in the lungs and the acquisition of "good bacteria", which help to 
strengthen the immune system , in the passage through the vaginal canal. 

Disadvantages: For the mother, there is a risk of laceration, which is when the outside of the vagina is torn and stitches may be needed 
to close the cuts. There is also a greater chance of developing urinary incontinence, especially during the first year postpartum, and pain in the perineum (the region between the vagina and anus), which usually disappears within a few weeks. For the baby, there is a greater chance of trauma during passage through the vaginal canal.



2. Natural Childbirth 

What is it? It is one of the versions of normal birth, that is, the baby is born vaginally. What characterizes a natural birth is the absence of medical interventions , such as episiotomy, use of forceps, induction with synthetic oxytocin or other medications, such as anesthesia or analgesia. Natural methods for pain relief can be used, such as massage, poses, hot water... Natural childbirth can take place at home, birthing homes, in hospitals... 

Benefits: All the benefits of normal birth, no need that the body needs to recover after anesthesia or administration of drugs, such as synthetic oxytocin, for example, since there is no exposure to any drugs or medical interventions. 

Disadvantages: All the disadvantages of normal birth. In addition, natural techniques ease pain, but not always completely eliminate it. 

3. Humanized Childbirth 

What is it? It can be any type of birth, normal or cesarean, as long as the role of the woman is respected. In this modality, the main thing is that the responsible medical team is attentive to the birth plan and the pregnant woman's wishes and does everything to keep her comfortable throughout the process. Medical interventions such as induction, anesthesia and forceps may occur, as long as they are necessary for health and authorized by the mother. It usually takes place in hospitals or birthing homes in an environment that resembles the mother's womb: silent, warm and dimly lit. 

Benefits: All the benefits of normal birth and the ability to choose during labor what medical interventions you want. 

Disadvantages: To be humanized, it is necessary to find a team that really embraces the principles of this type of delivery, which can be a challenge, since interventionist practices still prevail in Brazil.


Mãe e pai veem recém-nascido pela primeira vez depois de uma cesárea (Foto: Getty Images)

Mom and Dad See Newborn for the First Time After a C-section (Photo: Getty Images)

4. Cesarean

What is? Surgery in which a cut is made in the woman's abdomen to remove the baby. It can be planned or emergencyA planned or elective cesarean occurs either when the woman chooses the surgery willingly or when there is some health condition, such as hypertension and multiple pregnancy, which significantly increases the risk of vaginal delivery. Emergency cesarean, on the other hand, occurs when there is something unforeseen during normal delivery that puts the health of the baby and mother at risk, such as placental detachment and umbilical cord prolapse.   

Benefits: When performed to preserve the health of mother and baby, Caesareans save lives. In the case of planned cesarean sections, the main advantage is knowing exactly when the baby will be born. 

Disadvantages: The mother's recovery is slower than in normal delivery and there is a greater risk of infection and bleeding. The scar on the abdomen can cause pain and, if the woman has more than one cesarean, there is an increased risk of uterine rupture. Also, babies born via caesarean section are more likely to have allergies and respiratory problems.


Bebê conectado à placenta depois de parto de lótus (Foto: Instagram/@lobkekoppensgeboortefotografie )

Baby connected to placenta after lotus birth (Photo: Instagram/@lobkekoppensgeboortefotografie)

5. Lotus Birth

What is it? It is also a category that falls within normal or vaginal birth. The difference here is that after birth, the cord is not ligated and the baby is kept connected to the placenta until the cord naturally detaches from the navel, which usually occurs a week after delivery.

Benefits: Waiting for the cord to stop pulsing to disconnect, which happens about 3 minutes after delivery, reduces the risk of anemia for the baby. After that interval, however, there are no proven benefits. 

Disadvantages: It takes some care to reduce the odor of the placenta over time and the logistics of breastfeeding can become more complicated because of the connection between the baby and the organ. 

6. Home Birth 

What is it? It is also one of the modalities of normal or vaginal birth and, as the name implies, it is when the baby is born at home, which can be planned, with an assistance team, with obstetricians or midwives, and even without, in cases where that the woman cannot get out in time for the baby to arrive. 

Benefits: Being at home, the environment is safe and comfortable for women. In addition, she may have closer contact with the baby after birth than is allowed in hospitals. 

Disadvantages: In case of emergency, the hospital structure is not available, which, according to the Brazilian Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics Associations (Febrasgo) , increases twice the risk of neonatal death and three times the chance of complications such as seizures and neonatal neurological damage.


Recém-nascido no colo da mãe depois de parto na água (Foto: Getty Images)

Newborn in the mother's lap after waterbirth (Photo: Getty Images)

7. Waterbirth 

What is it? The baby is usually born vaginally in a tub or plastic pool filled with warm water. 

Benefits: Water eases the pain of contractions and provides relaxation. The baby's exit is usually smoother. 

Disadvantages: As soon as the baby is born, you need to be careful to prevent it from losing heat. It is important to dry and heat it quickly.



8. Unattended Childbirth 

What is it? I deliver vaginally, without any kind of assistance from obstetricians, nurses or doulas. It can happen unintentionally, when there is no time to go to the maternity ward or for the team to arrive, or purposefully, when the family chooses to receive the child alone, a practice not recommended by health teams, due to the risks. 

Benefits: The woman has full control over her labor. 

Disadvantages: Without adequate professional assistance the risks of complications are even greater than those of assisted home birth and can even result in the death of both mother and baby. 

9. Squatting birth 

What is it? The baby is born vaginally, but the characteristic is the mother's position at birth: she is crouched down, a position that allows a better opening of the perineum and facilitates the baby's exit. 

Benefits: In this position, gravity acts in favor of the baby's passage through the vaginal canal and the pressure of the femur in the pelvis facilitates the opening of the pelvis. 

Disadvantages: Staying for long periods of time in this position is uncomfortable, but there is the possibility of using supports such as stools and relying on the physical support of the midwife or partner.

Source: Alberto Guimarães, gynecologist and obstetrician and leader of the Childbirth Without Fear Program. (based on:

Catarina Vilela - Nurse