Why choose natural birth?

Emergency Caesarean sections have saved the lives of countless mothers and babies who would have died, had they not received this lifesaving intervention. However, is it really the best option for you and you baby if there is no emergency?

Since the 17th century, midwives and surgeons have experimented with Caesarean section in situations where the mother and/or child were in danger. The operation was risky back then and there was no guarantee of survival. But today the procedure is safer and immensely popular.

It’s become so prevalent in fact, that in South Africa, C-section rates in the private sector stand at over 70%, according to 2014 information by the South African Council for Medical Schemes. This is worrying as the World Health Organisation recommends an ideal 10-15% Caesarean section rate worldwide. The C-section rate exceeding the WHO recommendation is a worldwide trend.


A prospective mother’s anxiety is often a motivating factor when choosing C-section. The media and society in general feeds this fear of something that used to be normal: natural childbirth. In contrast, we have casual attitudes towards surgery and have lost our fear of medical procedures, even though surgery is also risky. We simply do not have enough education on the positives of natural childbirth.

In an environment where patients are increasingly suing their healthcare providers for malpractice, doctors may also err on the side of safety by encouraging a mother-to-be to choose a C-section.


There are many benefits to choosing natural birth over C-section (if the mother’s and baby’s health permits this).

Babies born via natural delivery have physiological advantages, say the experts. For example, babies’ digestive systems are colonised by their mother’s flora as they pass through the birth canal; they receive stimulation from being squeezed and having their lungs compressed, and emerge more enlivened, with fewer admissions for wet lungs, fewer respiratory problems, and a lower incidence of asthma. The way you birth could also affect your baby’s development. A 2012 study by Yale University in America revealed that babies born naturally may have higher IQs than those born by C-section. The research says that when women give birth naturally there are higher levels of a special protein in babies’ brains that helps boost intelligence levels as they develop.

For the mother, recovery time is quicker and bonding is easier, and she can experience birth as empowering.

A natural delivery’s costs are around half of that of a C-section. This means that you have smaller out-of-pocket expenses with a natural childbirth. Your medical scheme also has lower delivery claims, which ultimately has a positive effect on your contributions and benefits.