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Big babies: What's the scoop?

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 
post #2 of 32

I just had an ELEVEN POUND baby girl, and ...

I was not diabetic, and, frankly, I am stumped as to how I spawned this 11 pound baby girl. I have done a bit of research and can tell you my experience with having a "big baby". I am 5' 4", but my 76 year old father weighed ten and a half pounds when he was born in the twenties (which was considered huge back then). Babies over 4500 grams (around nine pounds, 14 ounces) are considered to have "macrosomia" (you can do a www.google.com for dozens of hits on this for more information).

What I found on the internet and baby books is that there is an increased risk of mental retardation or the baby being stillborn if it is really big. If the baby is hypoglocemic, it can have seizures and other problems. There is an increased risk of having a c-section, which, I don't have to tell you, is no picnic. Of course, lots of women give birth naturally to big babies... I just wasn't one of the lucky ones.

First, I had planned a lovely natural birth in an alternative birthing center with CNMs. To make a long story short, my bag of waters broke but no contractions for 14 hours and they induced me, with EFMs, IVs, the regular maternity ward, etc. I labored with pit and cervidil for sixty hours, but stuck at nine centimeters for five hours. They c-sectioned me for "failure to progress." My childbirth educator thinks I was at ten centimeters (since they first told me I was at ten, then told me no, it was nine) but that I needed more than ten for the baby so they thought they measured wrong. I am bitter about all that, but I digress.

My baby became hypoglocemic soon after birth. The pediatrician told me that was because my colostrum could not support a baby that size yet, and she needed more calories than most newborns. Therefore, I had to supplement with formula using a supplemental nursing system (a total, irritating pain if there ever was one) for the first two weeks of her life until my body could produce enough milk to feed a baby the size of a two or three month old infant. I had teams of pediatricians and lactation consultants driving my baby and me crazy to get her blood levels up.

My milk came in on the fifth day after birth (probably extra slow because of the horrible birth experience). She is now three and a half weeks old, and I am constantly working to increase my breast milk.

On a more mundane note: lots of the tiny pretty clothes she has received as gifts from friends and family never fit her. The darling little outfits I took to the hospital never fit and I had to send my poor husband home for more ... (of course, he brought more teensy clothes that were too small). I had to give away my newborn diapers that fit babies up to ten pounds because they never fit her either.

Risk factors for big babies: overweight mothers and older mothers, diabetes, or heredity.
post #3 of 32

I forgot to add this about the big baby

I forgot to add part of the problem with my c-section! They thought she might be big (the CNM said she estimated eight and half pounds), but nobody ever thought she would be eleven pounds. When they did the c-section, they cut the regular size hole, but it wasn't big enough. They had to go back and cut more. Then they could barely get her out of my uterus (which they pronounced as "large") and she had bruises on her back from their tugging... then they made another cut there as well. So the healing has been worse for the incision.

In addition, because of the large size of the uterus and the extra large incision, I had much more bleeding than most women have. This is not good, because even before the birth I was "severely" anemic and they were considering a blood transfusion. Happily, the baby was not anemic at all and aside from the bf issues, as healthy as a horse.
post #4 of 32
Wow 11 lbs! thats HUGE! My DD was 9lbs 10 oz and was the biggest girl that the hospital had had in over a year. I too ended up having to suplement with formula for a few weeks till I could get my supple up to her standards. As to Why I had such a big baby? Dont know...But it sure was taxing on my body to carry her, Put way to much strain on my kidneys!
post #5 of 32
Oh I thought Id add that I was Induced with Reilly because I was 11 days past my due date had been in false labour for 13 days and my kidneys had almost compleatly shut down ( I was getting SICK) But that I had her compleatly naturally, no drugs and I went from 4cm to her being out in less than 10 min...
post #6 of 32

You said you were sick from kidney problems...

Do you mind telling me more about your sickness? How did they know it was your kidney?

I'm impressed by your having a natural labor and delivery with a baby that big. I knew mine was big because hospital staff gathered round just to look at her out of curiosity (it was a teaching hospital).

I ask because I vomited during the entire nine months... so much that I had to quit my job and lie around vomiting... of course, I vomited during labor, too! Is vomiting a sign of kidney problems?

After the birth, my husband suggested that I may have been so nauseous because the baby was the size of some sets of twins (having twins can cause nonstop vomiting).

I was particularly stunned at her size because of my vomiting. Every ounce of nutrition must have gone to her.
post #7 of 32
Ds was 9lbs. 10 oz and 21.5 in. and I had a natural ( one dose of stadol, during contractions) hospital birth. Dd was 9lbs. 1 oz. and 20 in. and she was a fully natural birth at a birth center. I had no problems breastfeeding either one. I did tear both times but that had more to do with the pushing stage than their size. I am 5'7" and weigh around 120lbs. I just wanted you to know it's not always difficult to birth a large baby. I don't know why the medical community considers over 9 lbs. too big, it's interesting because at the birth center where I had my dd they regularly have large 8,9+, babies. I have wondered if it has to do with the midwives letting the babies come when they are ready ( those last few days can really add on the pounds) vs Dr.'s tending to induce. At any rate I wish you a big healthy baby!
post #8 of 32
Thread Starter 

Thanks for sharing!

post #9 of 32

kinda big . . .

My second daughter was 9 lbs. The hosp wanted to do blood tests on her because of her weight. She would have to have three in a few days time. I refused. My ped was right there with me. She said I just needed to look for shaking. That was the big sign of sugar imbalance. Josie was fine. Ate like a horse. She still does. I never had any proplem with not enough milk.

I also had a nomedicated birth and had no tearing at all. My doc was great. He stretched me while crowning. I had one tiny tear not worth the thread to stitch it up. I only pushed about 10 times.

Congrats to all who had big babies. I was 9' 2" when I was born.
post #10 of 32
Wimbini, I went into my current pregnancy with a kidney deficiency that I was seeing a Traditional Chinese Medical practitioner for, and I've had REALLY bad morning sickness. Sometimes even now things will make me sick and I'm just under 32 weeks. Pregnancy is notoriously hard on the kidneys so if you're a little weak in that area it probably makes it all the harder. Frankly I've found this pregnancy very difficult overall and I too am facing the prospect of a HUGE baby. Getting very sick of people asking if it's twins. I wonder if the kidney deficiency some how causes a bigger baby?

On another note, I was disturbed to hear that you were advised to supplement feedings bc the baby was so big. My understanding is that a baby comes with it's own supply of calories in the form of fat to last it until the milk comes is. So logically a bigger baby would be able to wait longer for the milk. It may get a big cranky but it shouldn't be life threatening should it?

And a quick note of encouragment to other mums facing labour with a big baby, there is a reference in Spiritual Midwifery to a woman that gave birth naturally at home to a 14lb baby without so much as a tear.
post #11 of 32

I know, I wondered about that too...

I wondered about the supplementing, too... she appeared to have plenty of fat on her, and they were panicking about her being underfed. I wish I had stopped the blood tests! My dh made the call on that.
post #12 of 32
I just had an almost 10 lb baby - VBAC waterbirth with a direct entry midwife (my twins were preemie c-section)
I ams o glad I used a midwife as my HCP and didn't have a hospital birth b/c they would have done all the tests you are talking about and probably made me supplement..
he didn't really urinate the whole time I was waiting for my milk to come in (3 days) and I know they would have flipped about that if he hadn't been at home with me!
He is 5 months old and 20 lbs.
post #13 of 32
I knew I had Kidney problems from blood tests. They started running tests to make sure we were OK at around 32 weeks cause at 32 weeks I was HUGE Measuring 40cm by them. They were concerned about Reilly developing problems from being to big or the placenta seperating which happens with big babies sometimes, I also had to have an U/S at 37 weeks to estimate her weight (approx at 8lbs at 37 weeks) Just a note...I had morning sickness for all 9 months with both of my kids too.....Evan was 8lbs 6oz
post #14 of 32
All this talk about big babies and kidney issues is
interesting, cause my last baby was 10 pounds and
I had kidney stones and kidney problems during the
pregnancy. Had a fine homebirth. Anyway I am now
32 weeks pregnant with a big baby again and a
naturopath trained in traditional chinese medicine
told me that she thought I had a kidney imbalance.
post #15 of 32

I had three big babies...

All three of my guys were big (8.5 to 10 pounds) and I had them all naturally, no problems in any of the pregnancies, and breastfed them all with no problems. Big does not necessarily mean problematic. With my second son, I did have to fire our pediatrician because she insisted that my 10 pound darling needed supplemental formula and when I refused, she wrote "failure to thrive" in large letters across his file. He is now 7 years old and so big he is often mistaken for a ten year old. No failure to thrive there! I do believe that heredity plays a major role...I was 10 lbs. 11 ozs. at birth and my brother was 13 pounds!
post #16 of 32
My 3rd child was born at home and she weighed 10lb2oz. My midwife told me that if she was born in the hospital that they would run all sorts of tests on her to make sure she wasn't diabetic. I wasn't worried at all. It was a pretty painful labor. My son was 9lbs3oz and his was so easy, so I thought that the 3rd one should be even better but I was wrong. My dd came out and wanted to eat right away . My midwife just told me to keep nursing her every couple hours since she was so big. I find it interesting that my babies were bigger than average (dd #1 was 8lbs2oz). I do think that if women would just wait for nature to start labor rather than drugs you would probably see some bigger babies. Babies know when they should come ( I know that there are times when they need a little help). It always blows my mind when someone has a c-secton scheduled at 38 wks:
post #17 of 32
I completely understand c-sections for medical reasons that are unavoidable, but for a big baby? That makes me sad for the mothers that have to be subjected to Dr.'s telling them "your baby is just too big". A friend of mine was pregnant with a frank breech. Her Dr. scared the bejeebers out of her around 37 weeks saying that an external version is "only" 75% effective and could probably send her into labor anyway. Then he proceeded to tell her "well the baby is already really too big for you to birth vaginally as a first timer so it just better to scedule a section near your due date"! She went for it, hook line and sinker. That Dr. had her convinced that if her baby was born at 37 weeks by emergency section it was too early and that she shouldn't "risk" her baby's health. It was all so sad. I tried to educate her while it was going on but the damage was done and she wanted to do the "safest" thing for her baby. So, here's the kicker, her baby was 8lbs., 12 oz.! I thought for sure that her Dr. was going to announce this 11lb. baby or something : Don't these Dr's feel stupid when they pronounce a huge baby that turns out to be normal in size... it happens all the time, you would think that people would stop listening to them I know some Dr.'s ARE wonderful but I also think some of them enjoy not being inconvenienced with longer labors, breech babies, etc. Does anyone else hear what I'm sayin'? :
post #18 of 32
My biggest (of 5) was 10-14 and 23" long. He was my first homebirth. It was hard work, but he came out. The danger is shoulder dystocia (where the shoulders get stuck). That in effect can strangle the baby. Grant had that, and was stuck for 5 minutes. There are many manuevers midwives will use to remedy this, but from what I've heard, hospitals will just go straight to putting pressure above the mom's pubic bone to release the baby's shoulder.

Anyway, it was no fun by any means, and 9-1-1 was called even, but we got the baby out before they actually came and were able to cancel the call. It was the most amazing experience of my life. I have a lot of intense feelings surrounding what happened, and amazingly, they are positive.

My other kiddos have been big too...
#1 7-14 15 days early
#2 9-10 10 days early (broke my water to induce due to size, no probs at all getting him out)
#3 8-4 7 days early
#4 10-14 3 days early
#5 9-6 10 days late

I'm just glad I don't birth in the hospital any more. They do all sorts of things I'd just have to fight them about, yk? I don't think all the fear they give you re: a big baby is warranted. We have enough of that fear on our own. Labor #5 was nothing but fear for me... but that's another story....
post #19 of 32
I just posted this under the "winter babies" heading..... Didn't see this topic yet.....

Hello everybody.....
We're expecting our first, a little boy, due on January 15. Ultrasounds show him in the 98th percentile for size, so I've done a lot of research about the possible implications for an "overly large baby" (statistics-wise). He's 2 weeks, 3 days ahead of the average size for gestational age.

If anybody else here has gone this route, feel free to email me at mhamilton83@austin.rr.com.

From what I've read about macrosomia, it seems 1/2 the docs say to let nature take its course, but be prepared to expect a baby that gets "stuck" and requires forceps or suction.... which ultimately results in broken or dislocated collar bones, elbows, shoulders, etc. (and other possibilities) and an eventual emergency c-section. The other 1/2 of the docs say to schedule a c-section as a means to avoid possible complications/dangers to child and mother. Or, to induce natural labor the 2 weeks, 3 days ahead of due date.

I talked to my doctor and she says they don't/can't use forceps or suction on a big baby....

I was always leaning towards a "natural" birth with most laboring at home in the tub and a last minute trip to the hospital.... But, now I'm pretty convinced to just go for the scheduled c-section and lessen the risks to little Logan Riley (and me, too!). I just think it would be easier to avoid a 30 hour labor, and possible complications...... by skipping to the scheduled c-section. Maybe I'm just being a chicken... I don't know. I just want us BOTH to be ok.

I'm cool with it, and going to play it by ear.... Sorry so long...
post #20 of 32
arghghghg.....delurking again....

I do believe in csecs where they are indicated but I am telling you....to schedule a csec based *only* on size is asking for trouble. What is wrong with a trial of labor? Even for planned csecs studies have shown a trial of labor to be therapeutic for both mother and child.

I can't imagine being so agreeable to the idea of allowing them to cut you open and remove your baby.

I measured big last time and two years ago last month gave birth totally naturally to a 10 lb girl. She was not tall, either--only 20 inches. I was induced because my water broke and nothing happened for over 24 hours and believe me we tried everything else. Anyway...her shoulders did get stuck a bit but if you can move around a bit they will get unstuck. If you have a doc/mw who insists you lie on your back for the whole delivery....RUN........find someone else NOW.

I am PG again now with #2 and he's measuring even BIGGER (6 weeks ahead of dates) than the last one and I am not at all worried. I would like him to come a little early to make it easier on both of us but I would NEVER induce for that reason alone, much less give in to a csec based only on size.

I am using Evening Primrose Oil now and will begin nipple stim in a couple weeks. I am serious about coaxing things along...but narturally. Pitocin is not fun and I don't want to do it again.

Good luck....please....please...think this over before you commit to the csec. They are not safer.

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