A vaginal delivery is the birth of offspring in mammals (babies in humans) through the vagina (also called the "birth canal"). It is the natural method of birth for all mammals except monotremes, which lay eggs.
For humans, the average length of a hospital stay for a normal vaginal delivery is 36–48 hours. Surgery extends that stay. With an episiotomy (a surgical cut to widen the vaginal canal) to enable vaginal birth, the stay is 48–60 hours. The length of stay for a Caesarean section (C-section), a common form of nonvaginal birth, is 72–108 hours.
Types of vaginal delivery
Different types of vaginal deliveries have different terms:
- A spontaneous vaginal delivery (SVD) occurs when a pregnant female goes into labor without the use of drugs or techniques to induce labor, and delivers her baby in the normal manner, without forceps, vacuum extraction, or a cesarean section.
- An assisted vaginal delivery (AVD) or instrumental vaginal delivery occurs when a pregnant female goes into labor (with or without the use of drugs or techniques to induce labor), and requires the use of special instruments such as forceps or a vacuum extractor to deliver her baby vaginally.
- An induced vaginal delivery is a delivery involving labor induction, where drugs or manual techniques are used to initiate the process of labor. Use of the term "IVD" in this context is less common than for instrumental vaginal delivery.
- A normal vaginal delivery (NVD) is a vaginal delivery, whether or not assisted or induced, usually used in statistics or studies to contrast with a delivery by cesarean section.
Note: Use of the term IVD for instrumental vaginal delivery is best avoided because of its duplicate meanings.