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Vagina 'too small'? Uh what?

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
I'm posting for a friend.

She is planning on having a drug free, intervention free birth at her local hospital. She was recently told something by her doctor that made her suspicious that maybe he's not as on board with her birth plans as he acted.
When she expressed her desire to have the birth be as natural as possible, her OB was accepting but then told her that his only concern was that her vagina is "really small". When she asked him if there was anything abnormal about her vagina that would make a vaginal birth difficult or complicated, he apparently said that "sometimes some women just don't have vaginas big enough to birth babies."

Is this actually a legitimate concern? How on earth can you predict something like that?

I'm not a midwife or doctor but it sounds like pure crap to me...but I thought I would ask here and see if maybe I've just missed something and there really is an actual concern.
post #2 of 24
It is possible to have a pelvis that is too small. The vagina itself, well, it does tear, and it can tear badly, but I've always heard it phrased about the pelvis rather than the vagina. Skin and muscle can tear; bones can't (although the ligaments will stretch).

Unless her pelvis has been broken and reconstructed, or she was severely malnourished as a child, it's really not possible to predict her pelvis will be "too small". Too much is situation dependent. The pelvis may be normal, but the baby exceptionally large or poorly positioned. A provider may be able to draw such a conclusion after birth, though I personally wouldn't do so after a single birth--any individual birth can be a fluke. If the same pattern happens two or three times, I might think otherwise, depending on the circumstances. I assume, from your description, that she didn't have any problems at previous births that would lead the OB to say this.

I would be skeptical about any provider who tried making claims about my pelvis' ability to birth without any actual evidence. In the situation your friend described, I would either have a frank conversation or find a new provider.
post #3 of 24
I know I shouldn't laugh but this is making me laugh. Her vagina is too small?!?!?!
I have never heard that one before. IMO it sounds like he is trying to scare her.
post #4 of 24
I dunno, I think my vagina is pretty darn small.

10lbs ds still managed to get through it without tearing, though.

Vaginas are magic
post #5 of 24
Yeah, I think my vagina was pretty small (sex would make me tear a bit sometimes and was sometimes painful).

I managed to give birth with only two small tears.

I mean, that's not perfect, but she got out vaginally and I'm happy with it
post #6 of 24
If he had said "pelvis," I'd be worried. The fact that he said "vagina" scares the crap out of me.
post #7 of 24
It made me laugh too.



I would not use a Dr that did not use the correct terms to me, I would find that condescending. (it is not good when "condescending" is the less scary option here)
post #8 of 24
When DS was crowning, I was told that my vaginal OPENING was too small. Seriously, the on-call OB I got stuck with tried to convince me that my skin couldn't possibly stretch or tear enough to allow my 6lb 5oz son (who has always had an average sized head) to be born. Followed by threats of dead babies if I refused his massive episiotomy. Which I did. And this OB made sure I tore horrifically for doing so by using his hands to literally rip my vagina open. It was all completely unnecessary, just his way of punishing me for daring to believe my body is capable of having a natural birth.

I think your friend is asking for trouble by sticking with this provider. Especially if they indeed meant vagina and not pelvis. Luckily she's seeing an obvious red flag NOW and not while she's in labor.
post #9 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by secondimpression View Post
When DS was crowning, I was told that my vaginal OPENING was too small. Seriously, the on-call OB I got stuck with tried to convince me that my skin couldn't possibly stretch or tear enough to allow my 6lb 5oz son (who has always had an average sized head) to be born. Followed by threats of dead babies if I refused his massive episiotomy. Which I did. And this OB made sure I tore horrifically for doing so by using his hands to literally rip my vagina open. It was all completely unnecessary, just his way of punishing me for daring to believe my body is capable of having a natural birth.


I'm speechless. That.is.horrific.

OP... I can't think of a single reason that'd be good enough that I'd even consider staying with a provider that told me that. Tell her to run, not walk away from this OB.
post #10 of 24
I just saw this on the main page... umm.. thats nuts. I'd find a different provider. And secondimpression... OMG, I am *SO* Sorry!! s
post #11 of 24
There are two situations that I think this OB might be referring to. Neither would indicate to me that a vaginal birth couldn't be at least attempted.

First, I have seen some women who truly do have a pretty limited amount of pubic space. I've had two women that I've done vaginal exams on where I couldn't fit my two fingers in comfortably between the ischial spines. Both delivered vaginally---small babies with very molded heads in upright positions.

Secondly, some women do have really tight tissue--I'm trying to think of a better way to describe it--maybe one of the midwives has a better way. These are the women who crown for about 1/2 an hour--really truly crowning for that long. Again, unless baby is in severe distress, I don't think anything needs to be done, but most OBs are not very patient.

Still though, if that's really how he put it (and not just her interpretation) I'd find another doc or at the very least as for clarification AND still attempt a vaginal birth---you never know how things are going to stretch/expand.
post #12 of 24
I'm another who thinks he is spewing BS if that's what he actually said.
post #13 of 24
If I were her I'd run for the hills.
post #14 of 24
Hmm. my vagina was too small before I had my baby. For better or for worse, it's big enough now!
post #15 of 24
I'm with the others; this made me laugh, with little tears in my eyes!
post #16 of 24
Has your friend had any ritual genital cutting done to her? That would be the only reason that anyone could possibly diagnose that her vagina is too small.

If she is intact, then I would be looking for another care provider
post #17 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by gcgirl View Post
If he had said "pelvis," I'd be worried. The fact that he said "vagina" scares the crap out of me.
ITA
Please tell her to find another OB
post #18 of 24
Reminds me of Ina May's Guide to Childbirth where she discusses the fact that we assume women's organs are static even though we know that men's organs can grow & then go back to normal. Vaginas change in pregnancy & childbirth. I would be very skeptical of a provider who said he was worried about a small vagina. Sounds very uneducated about normal childbirth.
post #19 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by cileag;15417443ul
Secondly, some women do have really tight tissue--I'm trying to think of a better way to describe it--maybe one of the midwives has a better way. These are the women who crown for about 1/2 an hour--really truly crowning for that long. Again, unless baby is in severe distress, I don't think anything needs to be done, but most OBs are not very patient.
This was me. I pushed for 3 hours, and crowned for at least that long. My perineum is a bit longer than average, so it took extra time. My midwife helped by doing some gentle stretching maneuver (forgot the name) and he came right out. The back-up OB (required by law) said it was going to be difficult and I probably wouldn't be able to birth a baby over 8lbs. My son wasn't 8 lbs, but he had a good sized head and we did fine-just a couple very tiny tears that weren't even 1st degree. We just needed patience.
post #20 of 24
She should be glad her provider is telling her this now and not waiting for labor to pull the switch. If she really wants an unmedicated vaginal birth with any chance of an intact perineum, she should switch providers.
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