The power of choice: Which birth option is right for you?

woman looks at her newborn for the first time

"All women should have the right to choose how and where to give birth" - Karen Wilmot, Due Date Club

What are my birthing options? It's a question you may be considering as you await the arrival of your little one. To help you make an informed decision, we've spoken with several experts who shared their knowledge on the different forms of birth available to women in South Africa. 

Do you want an epidural for a pain-free birth? A water birth at home? Can you choose to have a C-section? Find out about these and additional childbirth options below.

Water births have benefits, such as shortened labour and "significant pain relief". Is this form of birth the right one for you? Find out here.

Birthing centres could be the best place to achieve a natural birth. Read about this woman-centred option here.

Home births have gained in popularity in recent times thanks to the pandemic. Is it a safe option? Read all about it here.

Caesarean deliveries account for 1 in 5 of all childbirths. The surgery is performed under emergency circumstances in some instances but it can also be planned. Find the pros and cons of a C-section here.

Epidurals during labour not only reduce pain but also relieves the body of the physical stress endured during birth.  Read about the pros, cons and costs here.

Natural birth excludes medical interventions as much as possible. Is this right for you? Find out here.

Vaginal birth after caesarean (VBAC) is not common but it is possible. Find out more here.

Birth plans have become quite popular in recent times. A doula shares expert advice on putting together a birth plan that suits you. Find the article here.

Written by Lesley-Anne Johannes
Edited by Elizabeth Mamacos

Special thanks to photographers and members of the South African Birth Photographers Association, Alyona Smith, Kristen van Staden and Tracey Baard, who provided the imagery seen across this series.

Find the rest of the series here.