Straight forward birth

What is a straightforward birth?


Straightforward birth means giving birth vaginally without any procedures or interventions. Read about the advantages and how to encourage a straightforward birth.

This module covers the definition of straightforward birth, the benefits for mother and baby, and who can have a straightforward birth. Straightforward birth, which is sometimes called natural birth, means giving birth vaginally, without any procedures or interventions. Interventions include those that are carried out in hospital by a specialist hospital doctor, such as:

  • induction of labour
  • epidural or spinal anaesthetic
  • use of forceps or ventouse 
  • caesarean section.

It is possible to experience a straightforward birth at home, in a birth centre, or in hospital.

What are the benefits of straightforward birth?

Evidence shows that improving opportunities for women to experience straightforward birth has positive benefits, both physical and psychological. Some of these benefits are:

  • They are less likely to suffer from pain after childbirth than women recovering from a caesarean or an assisted delivery.
  • They are more likely toinitiate breastfeeding than women who had a caesarean birth.
  • They are more likely to feel satisfied with spontaneous vaginal delivery than if you have your labour induced or accelerated, or have an episiotomy or epidural.

After a straightforward birth they have a greater chance of starting motherhood fit and healthy and able to cope with the demands of a new baby.

Who can have a straightforward birth?

Although some women need interventions for the safety of their baby or themselves, many more can have their baby safely without. Having a baby is a normal physiological process. With appropriate support, the majority of healthy women are able to have a straightforward vaginal birth with minimal assistance.

it’s worth noting that guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), released in December 2014, says that for women expecting their second or more baby and having a straightforward pregnancy planning to have their baby at home or in a midwife led unit (freestanding or alongside) is particularly suitable because the rate of interventions is lower and the outcome for their baby is no different compared with having their baby in a hospital labour ward.

Below is a video of a natural birth