Have you ever given any thought to how you want to give birth? You may not think there are very many options, but you would be surprised. There are at least five different methods of giving birth and all of them are used quite often.

The birthing process is quite the ordeal and every woman goes through labor and delivery in similar and different ways. Both of my sisters had vaginal births with an epidural, but some women choose vastly different methods. Take a look at some of the most common before deciding what you want.

Vaginal Birth
There are two different ways to give vaginal birth. The first way is with an epidural, and the second way is natural without any pain medication. These two ways are some of the most common methods of birth. Some women choose not to use an epidural because of various beliefs about what the medication does to a woman’s body and the infant’s body. Many women try to do a natural birth just to see if they can do it, but end up taking an epidural later. Most hospitals are pretty flexible on this issue.

Water Birth
I have a friend who swears this is the best method for her. She doesn’t have any children yet, but she’s researched the whole process and is dead set on it. Water birth can happen at home, in a hospital, or at a birthing center. If you plan to have a water birth at home, you need to rent a birthing tub. However, many more women choose to go to a birthing center or a hospital equipped with birthing tubs.

Until recently, this was not a very popular method of giving birth, but it’s starting to gain more popularity because of the comfort it gives to the mother. Water births have also been known to relieve anxiety, relax the muscles, and provide more freedom of movement for the mother.

Cesarean Section
A lot of women choose to have a C-section when vaginal birth may cause complications. Some of the most common complications are birth defects and having multiple children. Having a C-section requires a longer recovery time and can take up to two weeks or so.

Many hospitals these days recommend C-sections because it takes less time to deliver a baby but never let a hospital talk you into one if you don’t absolutely need it. The only person I’ve known to have a C-section was my cousin, who has twins and the only reason she had the operation is because one of the babies had the cord wrapped around his neck.

Source: Women's Health. "Birthing options." Labor and Delivery Options: Giving Birth How You Want. Women's Health, n.d. Web. 16 Jan. 2014.