Thing 1 was 4 pounds 3 ounces (born 6 weeks early, via emergency cesarean.)
I had set a goal to double Thing 1’s weight with Thing 2, so I was thinking he would be 8 pound 6 ounces. I guess I am an overachiever, because he weighed 9 pound 4 ounce. I birthed him vaginally without any problems.
My OB said to me, “If I had known he was going to be this big, I wouldn’t have let you had a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean).”
I said, “Thank goodness you didn’t know!”
How wrong would it be if my OB had discouraged my attempt at a vaginal birth because of her fear of big babies?
Mad about the Big Baby Bull!
9 years later I am a childbirth educator and doula who is saddened/angered by the “big baby bull” care providers feed to their patients every day.
Some start it even as early as the 20 week ultrasound, with little remarks like, “This baby is a pretty good size.”
why do I say “suspected”?
Let’s be honest, the only way to KNOW how big a baby is,
- is to weigh him after he is born!
- Ultrasounds are notoriously wrong – up to 2 pounds either way of the “estimate”.
Using Scare Tactics to Sell Agenda
Care providers then use that “suspected big baby” to sell their agenda. Whether it be a cesarean or an induction. This fear of big babies is causing a lot of interventions to happen to low risk moms.
I attended a birth of a mom was induced at 38 weeks because her baby was “going to be at least 8.5 pounds”.
Some simple facts:
- this mom had vaginally birthed a 8.5 pound baby easily a few years before.
- ACOG defines macrosomia as bigger than 8 pounds 13 ounces, so technically – 8.5 pounds is NOT big!
- the baby was 7 pounds.
- The OB commented after “All baby’s should be small, much less trauma to the mom.”
- Did I forget to mention, the OB was heading out of town the next day?
Suspected Big Baby is such a recurring theme
Big Baby Bull Page. Visit there for tons of information about suspected big babies.
I recently added these links.
Why are care providers afraid?
Shoulder Dystocia is their main fear.
Well here is a great post about Can Shoulder Dystocia be predicted by size of baby?
In it she quotes ACOGs statement regarding shoulder dystocia.
1. Most cases of shoulder dystocia cannot be predicted or prevented because there are no accurate methods to identify which fetuses will develop this complication.
2. Ultrasonic measurement to estimate macrosomia has limited accuracy
3. Planned cesarean section based on suspected macrosomia is not a reasonable strategy
In Birth Sense’s follow up post she asks the question:
Is it possible to prevent shoulder dystocia?
The Brachial Plexus Injury Prevention Program (BPIPP) has made a strong statement about prevention of shoulder dystocia.
According to BPIPP, the singular action that obstetric providers could take to prevent shoulder dystocia is to
- keep the mother off her back during delivery.
They also list three additional factors that can increase risk of shoulder dystocia and brachial plexus injury:
- Epidural anesthesia for vaginal birth
- “Tools” such as vacuum or forceps used to aid delivery
- Labor Induction
The scary thing is, care providers actively RECOMMEND and support many interventions that LEAD to shoulder dystocia.
So maybe we should just do cesareans for all suspected big babies?
Do all OBs think suspected big baby, should be handled with cesareans and inductions? Jill at the Unneccesarean shares a great article from Contemporary OB/GYN discussing how macrosomia is not a good indication of doing a cesarean.
Cesareans have risks as well. Is it right to scare a mom with a possible risk to known risks?
Remember there is NO way to know how big your baby will be. I know a few moms who have had cesareans for suspected big baby and have had small babies. A major surgery for NO GOOD REASON!!!!
Some moms worry a big baby may cause tearing.
But this is not necessarily related!
Here is a great birth story including amazing pictures (graphic) of a mom who birthed her 11 pound 5 ounce baby vaginally with no tears!!!
There are many, many stories like this.
- There is no way to know how big a baby is until after he is born!
- Suspected Big Baby does not predict shoulder dystocia.
- Inducing will not prevent this potential problem and may even lead to it!
- Having an elective cesarean is not the ideal answer.
- Your body will grow the perfect size baby for you!
- Make choices based on information and intuition instead of fear!
What do YOU think?
- If you are a doula, CBE or nurse, have you noticed a trend of “big baby bull”?
- If you are a mom, have you had any experience with this?
- Do you think it is OK for a care provider to force a cesarean or induction because of a big baby?
- Please share your experiences!
- Edited to add a great big baby story just posted on Unnecesarean
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