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Types of childbirth and delivery methods: Facts you should know

Today, there are many types of childbirth and delivery methods available, allow all expecting parents to choose the method that is safest for their physical conditions, while at the same time, allowing parents to capture the first moment their child enters the world.

In this article by Pacific Prime Singapore, we will explore the most common types of childbirth and delivery methods, going through all the key facts, risks, and advantages you need to know as an expecting parent.

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Delivery method 1: Vaginal delivery

Vaginal delivery is the oldest and most natural method of childbirth where the child is delivered through the mother’s birth canal.

Most women will give birth at around 38 to 41 weeks of pregnancy. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says that vaginal birth is recommended unless there is a medical reason for other methods, like a cesarean section.

The benefits of vaginal delivery include:

  • Shorter hospital stays (24 to 48 hours on average)
  • Lower infection rates
  • Quicker recovery for the mother
  • Lower risk of respiratory problems in babies
  • No risks associated with abdominal surgery
  • Breastfeeding comes more easily

Drawbacks of vaginal delivery include:

  • Tearing of the perineum (the area between the vaginal opening and anus)
  • May not be recommended if birth complications occur

If the mother is having difficulty delivering the child due to exhaustion, an episiotomy may be performed where a surgical incision is made in the perineum to enlarge the vaginal opening and allow the baby’s head to pass through more easily.

With a natural vaginal delivery, childbirth is given via the birth canal. This method has evolved over the years into subtypes, each with its own advantages.

Method of giving birth – home birth

There are plenty of intuitive reasons for deciding to give birth at home. For instance, mothers may find it more relaxing at home, making it easier for them to go through labor.

Home births are attended by a certified professional midwife, a licensed nurse-midwife, or a naturopathic midwife.

Benefits of home birth include:

  • No transportation-related hassles, such as having to worry about the traffic to the hospital while in labor
  • Being in a comfortable environment may make the process before and after giving birth easier, such as an easier transition to breastfeeding and lower perception of pain
  • The convenience of being at home, such as feeling more comfortable shouting to help relieve pain, inviting guests to meet the baby for the first time, and more flexible regulations

Drawbacks of home birth include:

  • Complications may arise if midwife fails to reach the parents’ home in time due to factors like bad weather and misdirection.
  • May still require transportation to the hospital if the child delivery process faces medical complications, such as the baby is not in the right position for delivery or the baby is simply too large.

Method of giving birth – water birth

In recent years, there has been a rise in popularity in water birth methods among expecting mothers. The process involves entering a tub of water once the mother is in labor, where the water temperature will be at around 90 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit (32 to 37 degrees Celsius). In the later stages of labor, the mother will have the option to give birth while still in the water or above the water surface.

Benefits of water birth include:

  • The baby may feel more comfortable being born into water, as it has been floating in the mother’s amniotic sac for nine months.
  • Both the mother and the baby may feel less anxiety and perceived pain, as water birth helps relaxes the mother’s muscles and allows for more freedom of movement.
  • The mother’s partner is able to get into the tub to provide emotional support to the mother.

Drawbacks of water birth:

  • If the water used is not clean, then there may be an increased risk of infection.
  • More planning and logistics are involved in setting up the water tub, especially if the mother wants to give birth at home.
  • The mother may still have to transition to more traditional methods of birth-giving if complications arise.

Delivery Method 2 – cesarean section (C-section)

As all expecting parents will already know, not all births will go smoothly as planned. There are plenty of complications that may arise.

These complications may include:

  • The unborn baby is in breech (bottom first) or transverse (facing sideways), causing difficulty, pain, and exhaustion to the mother during labor
  • The baby’s size is too big for the mother
  • The mother is carrying more than one baby
  • Obstructions, such as tumors, are found in the mother’s reproductive system

These complications may mean that a traditional vaginal birth is no longer a viable and medically safe option.

If these situations arise, the doctor may need to perform a C-section on the mother. The C-section is a surgical incision that is performed below the mother’s bikini line to deliver the baby through surgery. C-sections can either be scheduled in advance or performed in response to a complication during the vaginal delivery process.

Benefits of C-section delivery:

  • Can be scheduled in advance


  • Longer hospital stay to recover from the surgical wound (2 to 4 days on average)
  • Higher risk of infection
  • Longer-lasting soreness after delivery
  • Research has found that women who have undergone a C-section surgery begin breastfeeding later than women who had a normal vaginal birth
  • Vaginal birth in future deliveries is not recommended after the mother has performed a C-section on a prior childbirth
  • Increased risks of blood clots

Note: The C-section is not recommended for mothers unless it is medically necessary, according to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Other risks to consider when giving birth

Health risks are the utmost important thing expecting parents need to consider. However, there are also other risks involved that all expecting parents will need to prepare for, such as the financial cost of childbirth in Singapore. The cost of giving birth in Singapore is notoriously expensive, especially when compared to neighboring countries.

Even in a public hospital, childbirths cost up to SGD $5,000. For private hospitals that are catered for expats, the cost of delivering a baby is as high as SGD $8,000.

If the expecting mother needs to go through a C-section, medical bills may be even higher, ranging between SGD $8,000 for public hospitals and SGD $10,500 for private hospitals.

To get these risks covered, you may want to consider getting maternity health insurance. However, comparing all the different insurance plans that come with different conditions can be confusing and tiresome. This is why we recommend that you contact our experts at Pacific Prime Singapore who will be able to offer you free advice on finding the best maternity health insurance in Singapore. We are also able to offer newborn health insurance as an add-on to your maternity health insurance plan.

As a leading global international health insurance broker, Pacific Prime Singapore specializes in offering expat health insurance in Singapore, helping clients find the best private health insurance in Singapore that suits both their needs and budget.

Feel free to visit our website for a no-obligation, free quote today!

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Senior Copywriter at Pacific Prime Singapore
Jantra Jacobs is a Senior Copywriter Pacific Prime with over 10 years of writing and editing experience. She writes and edits a diverse variety of online and offline copy, including sales and marketing materials ranging from articles and advertising copy to reports, guides, RFPs, and more.

Jantra curates and reports on the results of Pacific Prime’s monthly newsletters, as well as manages Pacific Prime’s Deputy Global CEO’s LinkedIn posts. Complemented by her background in business writing, Jantra’s passion for health, insurance, and employee benefits helps her create engaging content - no matter how complex the subject is.

Growing up as a third-culture kid has given her a multicultural perspective that helps her relate to expats and their families while 8 years of working remotely have given her unique insight into hybrid work arrangements and enthusiasm for employee benefits.
Jantra Jacobs