Do large headed babies = longer than avg labor? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 12-10-2008, 07:08 PM - Thread Starter
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Big heads run in DH's family. Our first had a big one, he spent most of labor kinda posterior, long long labor, short pushing stage, and was born with a very molded skull in the back (must have tucked his chin down well).

If this second child isn't posterior are we still likely looking at a longer than normal labor due to head size? I mean I'd be glad to tack on a little time for a lovely narrowing through molding but I'd rather keep it under 1 day for our second!

Do your kids have big heads? Were the labors longer than average? Normal? Any fast ones anyway?
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#2 of 8 Old 12-10-2008, 08:32 PM
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No, not necessarily. Positioning of baby has a lot to do with things....and so does the shape/size of your pelvic outlet. So, for a woman with a roomy pelvic outlet, with a baby in good position, a large head would not make any noticeable difference. For a woman with a smaller outlet, or some feature of the outlet that created a 'tight spot', a larger head could mean a longer labor--especially if baby was not well-positioned.

I once had an 8lb baby with a large-ish head. I do have a tight spot (encroaching ishial spines--you might want to find a diagram of a pelvis) AND this boy was coming out with his chin up, 'military presentation', instead of chin tucked. He was my longest labor and most painful, longest 2nd stage too, and I got skid marks from his passage.

Next baby was 10 lbs--a full 2lbs larger!--but she was far better positioned, chin well tucked. Shorter labor, shorter 2nd stage, no perineal tears/abrasions at all even tho her head was a little bigger than her earlier brother. But given my pelvis, it was my first 2 babies--6.9 lbs and 7.6lbs--that were my fastest labors. All the later, bigger babies, 8lbs and up to 10, were longer labors tho only the chin up guy gave me a longer 2nd stage--once the others had cleared that tight spot, they came shooting out pretty fast!

Anyway--a first baby is not enough to know much about how you birth. Maybe your later babies will all be lots easier, now that you've birthed once and your body knows more about what it's doing.
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#3 of 8 Old 12-10-2008, 11:19 PM
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I think positioning has a lot to do with it also....But that being said DS's birth was my longest and he had a big head ( 1 1/2" bigger than dd's) but he was also my 10lber. The pushing stage was also twice as long as dd2's. I dont' count dd1's birth because I was induced with a half working epi.

ETA: but I also remember him being ALL on my left side during pushing....I remember looking down and saying to the m/w...." he's all the way to the left isn't he?" I just remember seeing him totally on my left side during a cntrx.
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#4 of 8 Old 12-11-2008, 12:41 AM
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My apparently well positioned 7 lbs 9 oz baby with a 13" head had me going in and out of labor for a week. I had 41 continuous hours of active contractions before finally pushing her out. My midwife actually theorized that I'd be better off with a bigger baby who didn't have as much room to float around at the top of my pelvis. A bigger baby might have locked into position better. Who knows!!!

ETA: My mom was about 9.5lbs (not sure about her headsize though) and my grandmother had her on the steps of the hospital because they couldn't get inside fast enough.

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#5 of 8 Old 12-11-2008, 01:06 PM
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My DD was posterior w/ a hand up by her face, and I do think that contributed to a longer pushing stage for me. I'm kinda glad, because it gave my tissues plenty of time to stretch out, to minimize tearing. For a first baby, my labor was pretty short - a little less than 9 hrs. I would think that having a big head might also lead to a longer pushing stage, just to give the head time to mold and your tissue time to stretch.

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Baby Aerick is here! Born at 40+6 on 5/16/10
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#6 of 8 Old 12-11-2008, 04:35 PM
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I have had 3 babies with 15 inch heads.
First I pushed with epidural for 3.5 hrs to no avail...had csection
Second was 8.5 hrs total with 3.5 hours of pushing born at home
Third was 4.5 hours total (1.5 dialation) 2.5 hrs pushing born at home

However, it may be more due to the shape of my pelvis than the size of my baby...or a combo of both. I am a small gal but no big deal with that. My pelvis can accomodate those big heads but I have a pancake butt so I think my pelvis is somewhat smooshed from front to back. My tailbone has popped out in both vaginal births. I have to really work to get them out...but they come out just the same!!!

So, I'd say big head doesn't necessarily mean long pushing time.

Mama to DS1 (4/04) DS2 (HBAC 11/06) DS3 (HBAC 12/08) DS4 (HBAC 1/11). Wife to one handsome hard working DH.
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#7 of 8 Old 12-11-2008, 05:19 PM
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my kids had 15 inch heads: #1 had a perfectly round cabbage patch kid head, #2 had a big dent where she was sitting on my pubic bone but no other molding. I pushed 15-20 mins with each. First labor was a total of 6-7 hours, second was a total of 5... and BOTH were posterior!!!

Like a pp, I am not a large girl, and have no butt, wide pelvis... and my tailbone was injured with the last one. Hooray pancake butts!

ETA- weeks of painless to "effortless" contrax with both, went into labor dilated 2-4 cm with each

---feeling like an emu on acid---
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#8 of 8 Old 12-11-2008, 08:13 PM
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My ds, third baby, had the biggest head of all my children so far (15 1/2"). He was the shortest active labor time, although I had alot of predominal labor with him. He also shot out the fastest, he was out in two contractions worth of pushing!
I agree with pp's, I think babies position is key.
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