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Is there REALLY Such a Thing as A Too-Big-To-Birth Baby?

post #1 of 51
Thread Starter 
I'm dying to know the answer to this.
I have heard too many "well she has to have a c-section because the baby is just TOO BIG"
:
I cant imagine this really ever being the case and certainly not as much as the excuse is used.....
Has anyone ever heard of/experienced a valid senario where this was a real issue?
Any midwifes have a *ooo this is gunna be a toughie* cut-off point?
Please Please tell me!
I want fodder for my next imprompto 2 cents.
post #2 of 51
Hehehehe....I totally read a different question via your title (nothing wrong with title...eyes not reading well...) and I read Too Big to Birth *A* Baby...

hope you get the answer you're looking for...

Jenne
post #3 of 51
I know many homebirths have included big babies 12+ pounds easily and beautifully. I also konw that many 8 lb babies have been far too big to birth vaginally in hospitals.
post #4 of 51
I have no actual knowledge about this. I would guess that it does occsaionally happen, due to mixing of races. My daughter was much larger than my son and was from a different father, who was himself a big baby, so I believe that the paternal genes contribute to the baby's size. So, it would make sense to me if sometimes a woman from a generally small ethnic group (eg. some Asians, some of the Celts, etc.) had baby with a father from a larger group (some of the Scandinavians, some of the Africans, etc.).

But, I really don't see it happening very often at all. Women are built to deliver babies, and I think our bodies would generally have some kind of built-in limits on how large a baby we'd make, paternal genetics notwithstanding. From what I've learned here and elsewhere, positioning is much more important. (I also think head size means waaaayy more than weight.)
post #5 of 51
I guess it depends on how much damage the mom is willing to sustain - my friend has had 2 babies who were near 11 pounds vaginally. One had shoulder dystocia and my friend had very severe tears, she was still in pain nearly a year later. The other baby did OK, but again my friend had terrible tearing and will be having some kind of surgery on her urethra as a result. Does that count as too big? IMO it does!
post #6 of 51
I wish I could remeber where I found this info. but it was that TRUE CPD (too small pelvis a very common "reason" for sections) is less than 1%
post #7 of 51
I know of two personal accounts where the baby has been too big to birth...my personal birth and my friend's birthing experience with her first baby. My mother and my friend both ended up having emergency C-sections and both myself and my friend's baby had interesting skull features because our heads were stuck, couldn't get past the pelvic bones. Some women aren't built to birth...there used to be more women who died in childbirth. There is a time and a place for C-sections; it's the ones that are scheduled due to the convenience factor that frustrate me.
post #8 of 51
The true answer is about one baby, one mother, on a particular day.

Sometimes, on a particular day, a particular mother is not able to give birth to an individual baby. Ya just gotta try.

I've heard the 1% rate of CPD in the developed world.

Prior to C-sections, there were babies that did not come out. The rate was much higher due to maternal malnutrition in childhood, especially rickets, which deforms the pelvis.
post #9 of 51
My last baby was almost 10lbs with a 14 3/4 inch head. Honestly I know I could deliver a bigger one. My aunts was 11lbs. I think it depends on your pelvic size.
post #10 of 51
I've known two cases. In one case, a woman I know had her first child die in utero late term and the process of trying to delivery the baby revealed her pelvis is shaped such that she will never be able to get a child through it. So, with her second pregnancy, which she carried to term, she scheduled a c-section.

In case #2, I had a neighbor growing up who was 5 feet tall at best and slender. She had two babies, both over 10 pounds each and big and tried but could not vaginally deliver either one.
post #11 of 51
I know a man who was 16 lbs at birth. His mother delivered him vaginally!! Seriously, he is about 60 now and a BIG man!! Like 6"10 and 300 lbs. And he looks smaller now cause he is older I've known him all my life (friend of the family) and he seemed biggger before. But I digress...

I can imagine it would have alot to do with the woman's pelvis, some women are not shaped properly to deliver...some women could deliver a 16lbs baby and not only be fine, but deliver 2 more afterwards...so I think my answer is yes and no. Depends on the woman.
post #12 of 51
IMO, rarely. I birthed a 14lb-er, with an average sized head- only 14 1/2" with no difficulties. I had a 9lb baby with more problems. A lot of this, IME, is down to positioning. An unusually shaped pelvis is its own challenge, and isn't the same as the baby being too big.
post #13 of 51


Oh! Helen you're soooo cool!!!
post #14 of 51
As I understand it, true CPD is really rare, but things like childhood malnutrition can stunt the mother's bone growth and make childbirth difficult (that's used to be big factor in maternal mortality in this country, actually, and I'm sure still is in many many parts of the world.)
post #15 of 51
My first was 8lb1oz delivered vaginally, my pubis (?) was separated delivering him, I don't think I would have liked him ti be any bigger
post #16 of 51
Like others have said, its less like to happen in the developed world, where we dont see cases of rickets and other bone diseases due to malnutrition.

Optimal fetal positioning is a huge factor. There is an "ideal" way for the baby to fit through the pelvis, factors such as the direction the baby is facing, the angle of his/her head, whether the chin is tucked all come into play. Also, some women might have small maladjustments of their pelvis, due to poor posture, injury, etc which can cause the uterus to be constrained and lead to poor fetal position.

So an 8 lb baby that is asynclitic (angled wrong) may be much harder to deliver and require a Csection than an 11 lb baby who is lined up correctly - even for the same woman/same pelvis.

Searching on optimal fetal position will give you lots of info. Chiro care is also a key factor in baby positioning and aligning moms pelvis. (Not a chiro myself, just enjoying an almost pain free preganancy this time due to one! )

And the other big factor is pushing position. Laying supine in a hospital bed is not the best way to open the pelvis for delivery. I struggled to push out my 9,2 baby, but I was flat on my back with an epi, in the hospital. I am fully planning to birth a 10+ lb baby this November at my homebirth...pushing upright, in the water or on the birthing stool.
post #17 of 51
the only way to know is to labor - not induction and not just lying down- labor changes mom's tissues and baby's head shape.
I am not sure it has much to do with racial differences as it does with maternal environment
post #18 of 51
My great grandmother was a big woman, over six feet tall. Her husband was just over 5 feet. Her babies were 12, 13 and 15 pounds. All vaginal, and I don't know anything about damage. But I'm glad subsequent generations got smaller, not larger.

By the way, none of those huge babies grew into particluarly large people. I've always wondered if she was an undiagnosed diabetic.
post #19 of 51
Okay, odd story, but bear with me.
My grandfather was in World War 2 and a kamikaze pilot flew into the ship he was on. My grandmother saved the newspaper clippings. Years later, they gave all kinds of things to my dad, including the clippings. When my dad died, my mom and I went through his things and we read the newspapers.
There was an article about how a woman gave birth to conjoined twins [of course in thoes days, they were called siamese] at home, delivered by her mother.
It got me thinking...how DID those conjoined twins come out? Not all of them could be joined in easier to birth positions [like, wouldn't head to head be easier to birth than side by side?] So how was it done way back when? I never hear of conjoined twins orphaned by their mother during childbirth.
So I have the same question!
post #20 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride
I would guess that it does occsaionally happen, due to mixing of races. My daughter was much larger than my son and was from a different father, who was himself a big baby, so I believe that the paternal genes contribute to the baby's size. So, it would make sense to me if sometimes a woman from a generally small ethnic group (eg. some Asians, some of the Celts, etc.) had baby with a father from a larger group (some of the Scandinavians, some of the Africans, etc.).
[bold added]

Uh... I really don't think you meant this to come out as racist as it reads to me. Maybe you meant "mixing of genes from different ethnicities"? Something? I don't want to be accusatory, but I can't let this pass unremarked.

: This is a serious matter and I would like to reflect more before I post, but my kid has a major diaper need now. Bad timing, Bleuet!
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