We had a huge Facebook response to a birth announcement recently. We posted that one of our clients had delivered her 10 ½ pound waterbaby without any difficulty. Many women commented on the fact that they too had given birth to their “big” babies without any problem at all.
The Midwives of New Jersey want to encourage you to not succumb to the pressure to have a cesarean prior to being given the opportunity to labor first. Many women deliver large babies as easily as smaller ones especially if they have already given birth before.
Signs that Baby May Be Too Large To Deliver Vaginally
There are ways to monitor a pregnancy and labor for signs that the baby may be too large to come safely through the pelvis. Things like:
- Excessive weight gain; history of large babies, they tend to get a little (or a lot) bigger each pregnancy; poorly controlled gestational diabetes
- A baby floating out of the pelvis, especially once active labor has begun
- A prolonged, inefficient labor
- A baby’s head not being well-applied to the cervix
- A lack of descent in the labor
- Pushing too long – we have to be suspicious when a second time mom can’t deliver in less than an hour
- I am always a little suspicious of a persistent Occiput Posterior baby. It seems like the find more room for their LARGE selves back by the sacrum!
Misinformation About What Determines A Large Baby
But women are often told that the following things are indicative of a large baby and I do NOT agree:
- A big belly-unfortunately, in many cases, most of that belly is Mommy not Baby
- Short stature
- Not going into labor by the due date. I have caught many BIG babies at 38 weeks and 6-7 pounders at 42. All babies grow at their own pace
- Ultrasound prediction of baby’s size. The inaccuracy of estimated fetal weights at term gestation is well-documented in the literature but it is still used to convince a woman she can’t deliver normally. In most cases, ultrasound technicians never know the accuracy of their estimates. That is why they always sound so confident. As far as they know, they are never wrong!
The Best Ways To Avoid A Cesarean Section
The best way to avoid cesarean section especially if the baby is larger than average, is to
- Go into labor spontaneously. Not only should a woman not be induced without a true medical indication, but she not try to induce herself with natural methods. Just WAIT for labor to begin.
- Rest in early labor-have a glass of wine and take a nap, Move in active labor-walk up and down your stairs, do figure 8’s while sitting on the exercise ball, squat in the shower.
- Avoid the epidural or at least delay as long as you can – a woman needs to be able to push very effectively if the baby is bigger. Epidurals not only take away sensation, but they paralyze the pelvic floor. Consider turning if off for the 2nd stage of labor before exhausting yourself pushing without effect.
Cesarean sections are necessary at times to safely deliver a large baby but it really can be game day decision. You do not know what you (and your pelvis) can do until you try!