(this is not meant as medical advice, this is to remind moms everywhere that you have rights…. choose to use them! Trust your body! Choose care givers who trust your body! Make educated decisions. Care providers give you information… you have to decipher it and choose how to use it, ask questions, get answers you are satisfied with, if you aren’t satisfied remember it is never to late to change to a new care provider or you can choose to just say NO!.)
Automatic Cesarean because of suspected Big Baby?
There seems to be a trend of scaring moms about the size of their babies. I have had friends who have had elective cesareans because their OB said their baby was too big to deliver vaginally. No “trial of labor” instead straight to the OR, which puts them and their baby more at risk. The ACOG says that macrosomia (suspected big baby) is not a good reason for Induction or Cesarean. So if an OB or Midwife recommend this, question it, ask what does ACOG recommend with macrosomia? Then whip this out of your purse. ACOG Guidelines of Fetal Macrosomia – They have removed this statement (maybe too many moms were bringing it into their OBs) so here is a statement by the American Family Physician on macrosomia.
I even know a mom who had a previous vaginal birth, so a “proven pelvis”, the OB said, baby will be TOO big and scheduled a cesarean. I suggested she could choose to get a second opinion, she didn’t (was tired of being pregnant, big and uncomfortable) and the baby was born by cesarean and was smaller than her first vaginally born baby. A very unnecessary operation, with a long recovery (LOTS of discomfort) for a mom with a toddler and newborn to take care of.
I understand that OBs are trying to cover their butts, I understand that it is more convenient to schedule and induction or even more convenient and they make more money with cesareans. But is it ethical to give only partial information to these moms? Do they say, your ultrasound makes it seem like the baby is possibly going to be 10 pounds, but they can be off by up to 2 pounds, so it is possible your baby is only 8 pounds. Do they say, I would like to induce you, but your bishops score is only 3 and you are most likely going to end up with a cesarean. Do they say elective cesareans are actually more risky than vaginal births for both mom and baby?
What about Inducing for suspected Big Baby?
The probably more common approach is for OBs to suggest moms be induced because their babies are getting too big. Many moms at the end of their pregnancy are feeling uncomfortable and are looking for a way to get this baby out, the sooner the better. They are not told the risks of induction, not told their Bishops Score, nor told they are possibly setting themselves up for a cesarean.
Let us also remember that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists do not recommend induction for a big baby, let alone cesarean. Big babies are also known as macrosomia. They have recently found that in addition to it being really difficult to tell the big babies from the regular sized babies via ultrasound, that when you induce a woman who is suspected to have a large baby, she is more likely to have a cesarean section. So it is better to just let nature take its course and all will be well. Especially if the mom is able to move around and push in more upright positions.
Definition of a Big Baby
Lets think of a few things…. what is considered a BIG baby? I had 2 babies around 9 pounds, one exactly 9 pounds and 1 a bit bigger. Everyone seemed very impressed that I had pushed these HUGE babies out of me. Well, did they forget that is exactly what my body is supposed to do? My vagina is meant to stretch, my pelvis is meant to open, my body will grow the perfect size baby for me.
Statistically and medically a 9 pound baby is in the average range. I think people worry about whether or not they’re going to be able to buy clothes and carriers etc if their baby is bigger than this, but almost all baby equipment is designed to accommodate all weights. They won’t be more expensive for bigger babies either, and even if they are you can just get them second hand from somewhere like shoppok to save a little money. There’s really nothing to worry about.
“Babies weighing more than 9 pounds and 15 ounces (4,500 grams) are considered much larger than average. (Average newborn weight is 7 pounds and 8 ounces.) It’s very difficult to determine whether a baby is truly macrosomic (literally “of large body”) while she’s still in the womb – only a post-birth weigh-in confirms it.”
ACOG recommends intervention only if baby is over 5000 grams which is 11 pounds. Keep in mind they admit there is NO WAY to know how much a baby will weigh until after the baby is born. So if they think by ultrasound a baby will be 11 pounds… the baby could actually only be 9 pounds, well within normal. Sometimes you can get better details by getting a portable ultrasound kit from Butterfly Network and doing many more tests, but it will never be 100% accurate.
What about the simple fact that just saying your baby is getting to big, what does that do to a moms thought process? We are suggestible, especially at times when a person who has “authority” says something. How many moms are psyched out of birthing their babies the way their body knows how to, but that seed of doubt is planted by their care provider.
You can counteract this by saying affirmations to yourself.
My body grows the perfect size baby for ME!
Baby Fat smushes… allowing my baby to easily be born.
My body can easily birth this baby.
Let us remember our bodies will not grow what it can not birth. Which makes me think of a favorite article I read called, Pelvises I have known and loved.
I think hypnosis can help to reprogram your mind and trust in your body. Also the Bubble of Peace you get in Hypnobabies can help bounce negative ideas away from you too. 🙂
But the ultrasound/OB said….
But the ultrasound says ______ fill in the blank. “A study comparing fetal weight estimates of clinicians, multiparous patients and ultrasonography found that ultrasound was the least accurate of the three methods.13 Limitations in the sensitivity and specificity of ultrasound have been observed in other studies.15 Despite these limitations, clinicians continue to incorrectly believe that ultrasound is an accurate way of predicting macrosomia.17 ” link from http://www.aafp.org/afp/20010115/302.html
You decide what YOU want. Do your research and follow your gut. Do you trust your body to grow the right size baby for you? I know when Carson was born (my first VBAC 9lbs 4oz) my OB said, “If I had known he was that big I wouldn’t have let you try for a VBAC.” My response was, “Thank goodness you didn’t know, because I obviously could do it.” Would I have been strong enough to fight for my VBAC if she had doubted in me? I would like to think yes… I know for sure when I was getting huge with Bryson, I knew there would be nothing stopping me from delivering vaginally as long as I was ok and baby ok… size was irrelevant!
That really is a shame, many OBs do see birth as a medical problem instead of a natural event. They are also used to most of their moms having epidurals, which can make pushing any size baby out a bit more challenging at times.
Some good questions to ask are…. “Is Mom OK? Is Baby OK?” If the answer to those are yes, then it isn’t medically necessary.
written by, Sheridan Ripley – Proud VBAC mom, Lactivist, Hypnobabies Instructor, Positive Birth Story Collector, Doula and mom of 3 busy boys.
Her OC Hypnobabies Website is www.enjoybirth.com
Positive Birth Stories and birth video www.pregnancybirthandbabies.com
Great Video about Moms who were told they couldn’t birth big babies vaginally, and DID!
I know it could be any one of us.
I met a dear woman today who had birthed her 8#14 baby vaginally with no problems, in fact the doc didn’t make it in time (no shoulder dystocia either). One would ‘think’ if one was thinking that a 9 pound 9 ounce shouldn’t be so much of a problem. And that would be IF the ultrasound was right in predicting the weight.
Her S-ob was bullying her into a cs for the last week or so. She was coming in for induction today but her water broke and she was having contractions. So they started her on the pit as was planned when ob called and said no turn off the pit she needs a cs. Mom did not want a cs. She was contracting every 5 on her own. She finally gave up and agreed to the cs. She told me ‘all that mattered was a healthy baby and she couldn’t live with herself if the baby died or was damaged. I just cant be selfish about this”.
She had a hard time with the surgery cause it feels so icky, no problem for anyone else in the room, but does not feel right or good to mom. Baby was good so we went straight to mom at 1 minute of age. The husband didn’t want her to have the baby! He wanted the baby. I told him, mom first, she is the one that had to get cut open and she asked me to bring baby to her first. Jeeeeez. So then we had some daddy time and went off to weigh and all that jazz.
I had to wipe the tears out of my eyes when I saw the scale. 8 pounds 7 ounces. Doc asked me the weight, and I told him. So he starts justifying it. Oh yeah well I told you (mom) that it could be off by a pound. Baby was malpositioned anyhow. This was a good decision anyhow.
No one is safe from a cs anymore. The only way to have a vaginal birth anymore is to stay home. We had a first timer have a vaginal and I said to everybody (not the family but everyone else working today) “what happened? Did one slip out before we could c-section her???”
It is just so wrong. I know I make a difference in how my babies and families are treated as a family unit. I know it is huge, especially after all your stories about how badly your babies are treated. But really, am I just fooling myself? Am I just part of this poison? I am so flipping depressed in my job over seeing this every day, I am beginning to think I should go work in hospice. Ortho. Infusion. Something, anything else.
I LOVE this story of a mom whose OB tried to scare her with the Big Baby card. She did her research and had THIS conversation with him! 🙂 How great is that! You have power as a mom and a consumer, USE it! This is a MUST read.
Great Vaginal birth of 12 pound 1 ounce baby!
Mom refuses to be pushed into elective cesarean and puts off induction for suspected “big baby”. She ends up having a fast vaginal birth of an 11 pound 9 ounce baby, with no tears!
Here is the story which inspired me to do this page… Sarah and her sweet baby girl Ada.
Ada Caroline was born on June 27 at 1:21 p.m. 8 pounds, 12 ounces,
19 1/4 inches long, and very beautiful, if I do say so myself. 🙂
She is a happy baby who sleeps like a log and gained 6 ounces in her
first 4 days at home!
Ada was born via C-section, as I believe I posted earlier the doctors
put the pressure on (and scare tactics, I would go so far as to say),
saying that the 40-week growth ultrasound showed she would be 9
pounds, 15 ounces, with a head size and femur length that were “off
the charts.” None of this turned out to be true at all, and I will
definitely be changing to a new medical group before getting pregnant
again. But overall I am focusing on the fact that we have a
wonderful baby girl.
I used Hypnobabies techniques a few times in the hospital. The most
successful was when they removed the dressing on the C-section
incision. I snapped that light switch off and it helped so much! I
can’t say I used the techniques during the surgery itself because I
was so excited, nervous, scared, etc. that I could not think straight
at all. Fortunately the procedure was really fast and during the
last part of it, my husband held Ada at my eye level so I could look
at her. When I got out of the recovery room about 1 3/4 hours later,
the nurse brought Ada to me and she nursed right away. She was very
alert and I was amazed at her strong nursing instinct. Things got
hard, emotionally, when she was admitted to the special care nursery
with a breathing problem. Fortunately it was minor & basically she
was just there for observation. Her pediatrician assured me that she
will have no recurring problems from this.
Thanks to all who share their stories and advice on this list!
Yes, you can include my story on your “big baby” page. If you need any info other than what is in my previous posts, just ask.
One thing I don’t think I mentioned in my posts is that my husband was very supportive of me having natural childbirth, but he got nervous when I told him what the ultrasound predictions were, and he thought we should go with the doctor’s recommendation of C-section once both doctors in the practice had given me this same recommendation. So that was an important factor, obviously, though he left the final decision up to me. And the final straw for me was when even my doula’s midwife said that in her experience, I would probably not be able to find an OB (well, not one covered by my insurance anyway) who would agree to deliver the baby naturally. It seems so silly now when Ada came out the normal size that she did.
I agree big baby scares are becoming all too common. I know 3 women in the last 2 months who were induced (before 40wks!) for big babies (2 of them ended up with c/s’s) and 2 that just went ahead and scheduled a primary c/s. And you know what the biggest baby out of those 5 was 8lb 4oz, the others were all under 8lbs. I think it’s ridiculous.
For what it’s worth, my biggest baby was my easiest. I’m on the small side, but not tiny (5’3″, 115 pounds not pregnant) and I’ve birthed 4 babies – 7lbs 8 oz, 7 lbs 4 oz, 7 lbs 8 oz and 8 lbs 5 oz. The last one was the easiest and also the only one that I had NO tearing, skid marks, nothing.
It is difficult when my OB expresses so little confidence…BUT in the end he left it as, “Well, it’s still up to you,” which makes me think that at this point a C-section is really not medically necessary. When something is medically necessary, the doctor says, “You need to do this,” not, “Well, it’s still up to you.” Right??? It’s like some bizarre
psychological game where I feel like I have to listen incredibly
carefully to figure out what the actual medical situation is.
All of that sounds all too familiar. I have had four babies. Three unnecessary inductions and one very unnecessary c-section. Now I know better and I will be having a vbac with my 5th baby come November/December.
I too am only 5ft. (don’t even have that 1″ that you have). I promise, your baby can handle whatever size baby it needs to. My largest was 9lbs 8oz.
Every time I was induced I was told I had a huge baby. It wasn’t until the 4th one that it was actually true. (However, compared to some of my friends that have had 10lbs and more babies, she wasn’t even that big).
With my first, I was told at 39 weeks that he was measuring almost 9lbs. He came out to be 6lbs 8oz. I was told the same thing with my subsequent pregnancies – that I was measuring huge and my babies were going to be huge – well the next two were 7lbs 6oz and then 6lbs 11oz. No big baby there. And that was at 38 weeks and 37 weeks, respectively, being induced. Go figure.
My c-section was NOT fun, and I won’t get cut again unless I am bleeding out and/or it is a TRUE emergency to save the baby or me.
I’m not sure how far along you are, but it is never to late to switch OB’s (or switch to a midwife) that will support you in the birth plan that you want.
Remember, it’s your baby, your body (not the OB’s). I know what it is like to feel pressured. I hate that feeling and I will NEVER let it happen again.
I hate C-sections (unless REALLY medically necessary) however, if you decide you want one – make sure you are the one that is deciding that not your OB. Know what I mean? It is your decision to make – regardless of what you decide (completely natural, somewhat natural, medicated, induced, c-section), make it your decision (and your husbands/partners) and no one else! 🙂
Ok – graciously stepping off my soapbox! Whew! 🙂
I just wanted to add to this post…
My oldest daughter was 10 days early and she was still 8 lbs. 6 oz
(with a big head!)…and I am fairly small (5’4”, 110 lbs). I did
tear a bit – (my midwife stretched me as far as possible, but she could
only do so much), but I did it all natural!
My second daughter went one day past my expected due date – I was
terrified that I was having a 15 lb. baby!! 🙂 As it turns out, my
fears were totally unfounded. This natural birth resulted in a tiny
little 7 lb. 9 oz. baby, and no tearing at all!
Anyway, my midwife was great – she never worried about the size of
either baby, even though I’m not real big, and my hips are fairly
narrow. I made it through the first two, and I’m excited to see what
Hypnobabies will do for me this time around!
She weighed 8 pounds, 12 oz. Yes, she was a big baby, but I delivered
her in 6 hours, even with an epidural and flat on my back. My next 3
were born at home and ranged from 8 pounds, 3 oz to 9 pounds. They
came after very long labors, but pushing took literally 2 seconds. My
last baby, born 8 days ago was born after my fastest natural labor
yet, and weighed 10 pounds, 8 ounces. I’ve never thought I had big
babies though, until Garrett was born. The others just seemed average
to me. I suppose though, that’s because I weighed more than 9 pounds
when I was born and my mom is about 5 inches shorter than I.
My husband had co-worker induced about a year ago for a big baby. The
ultrasound said he would be 11 pounds plus. He ended up being born by
c-section (failure to progress, maybe because her body wasn’t ready to
go into labor), and weighed a little over 6 pounds.
I hear that reason for induction more than any other, so either we
have a nation of women unable to birth the babies their bodies grow,
or the medical establishment as a whole has lost their ability to
Here is a story of a mom who refused to be scared into a cesarean or induction and had a 9 pound 14 oz baby and then with the next pregnancy also the OB tried to scare her into an induction or cesarean. Again mom said no and birthed a 10 pound 8 ounce baby with no problems!
Here is a story from a midwifes point of view, of a mom who they knew was going to have a big baby, but they supported her in vaginal birth so wonderfully, mom birthed an 11 pound 5 ounce baby vaginally with NO tearing!
2 more great Big Baby birth stories can be found here.
Great birth story including amazing pictures (graphic) of a mom who birthed her 11 pound 5 ounce baby vaginally with no tears!!!
Great article from Contemporary OB/GYN discussing cesareans and how macrosomia is not a good indication of doing so.
LET’S remember it is OUR choice…. an OB doesn’t have to agree to deliver the baby vaginally, we are paying them… so we get to choose. They can recommend, but it is our body, our baby and our choice. We can also choose to change to another care provider if ours is not supportive. It is never to late to change. Moms have changed at 41 weeks to new care providers when they weren’t feeling supported!
Please don’t let fear be your motivation in making choices during your birth.
Choose care providers that TRUST birth!
Want MORE information… check out this blog post about Big Babies.