does size of baby affect pp recovery? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 15 Old 06-07-2010, 04:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi everyone,

I was hoping for some input people about a question I have. I've given birth vaginally to two preemies (28 and 33 weeks). Each time my labors were quite fast- not realizing i was in labor until the baby was about 1 hour from being born, and my recovery was very quick. A few people commented on how impressed they were that I was up and walking around and feeling fine so quickly. I understand how some people have a hard time recovering from c-sections, but recently, a lot of friends and family have had babies, and the moms (who deliver vaginally) haven't had such an easy time w/ their recovery. They say they feel sore for awhile after, have trouble walking, etc. I'm wondering if the differences are just normal differences in the whole birth experience (just like i felt crappy my whole pregnancy while other people feel great), or if it's because my babies were 2 and 4 lbs and most people have babies around 7 or 8 lbs, or some people think it's because i'm generally in good health- i gave birth in my late 20s, i eat well, i'm at a good weight, etc.

so what do others think?

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#2 of 15 Old 06-07-2010, 04:56 PM
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I don't know statistically, but in my anecdotal experience, no. I'm quite fat, gave birth in my 30s. I had a 9-5 baby the first time and a 11-6 baby the second time when I was 36. I felt like it was easier the second time, because I didn't have much water gain at all, whereas the first time I still had a lot of water retention and constipation for the first few weeks. I do feel like I ate better and exercised more in the second pregnancy, which may have helped to keep the water retention down.

I didn't really have much pain or trouble walking while pregnant, so that might be part of it also. If you have PSD or other problems, maybe feeling sore is more common as you recover and adjust. I had a homebirth the second time around, and I did notice sore muscles in my arms and chest for a day afterwards.

I think the biggest problem with having the large babies with kind of large heads is that I ended up tearing some each time. My biggest issue after my two births was sitting, I was fine standing and walking. I had a perineal hematoma the first time that made sitting sometimes painful. I had 10 stitches the second time, which also made sitting painful, although that healed much more quickly than the hematoma. So I think the size of the baby mattered in that regard, so maybe the answer is yes. I didn't have problems walking other than the tear with the stitches. I got up and got dressed the next day and every time I had to go to the bathroom, I went upstairs to the master bathroom, since all my stuff was up there and it was easier.

I'm wondering if just not being pregnant as long ended up being easier on your hips and ligaments and such. I was over 41 weeks when I gave birth to my second one who was quite large, so that's a lot more weight and time carrying the weight around, but since I'm larger, I'm used to carrying a lot of weight around anyway, so I figured I wasn't as stressed out by it as would a smaller woman who gained a lot. I gained very little weight with that pregnancy and lost more than I gained the day she was born, so maybe that was part of it also. So if you didn't gain a lot, and you didn't have the extra weeks of carrying around increasingly larger babies, I think that could play into it, now that I think about it.
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#3 of 15 Old 06-07-2010, 05:10 PM
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For me personally, it is alllllll about whether I was cut, tore, or not.

Baby #1: I delivered on my back & was given a big ol' episiotomy. I couldn't sit, pee, or walk for many, many days without lots of pain. Baby was 6lb 12oz, 5 weeks early.

Baby #2: I delivered on my back & my skin tore where my epi. had been. Recovery & pain was the same as with baby #1. Ouch. Peeing made me cry. Baby was 8lbs 13oz.

Babies #3-5: I delivered while upright, kneeling. I had no tearing whatsoever, & no stupid episiotomy. And shock of shocks- I had zero pain down there! I could sit, pee & walk immediately after birth without a hint of pain. Two of those babies were 8lbs 13oz, one was 10lbs 6oz.

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#4 of 15 Old 06-07-2010, 05:27 PM
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I've had 3 babies all 40+ weeks.

My first was 7.1 (41weeks) unneeded induction and epi. I tore. Gained 30-35lbs. Hardest recovery because of the tear and the epi. And I wasn't in the greatest shape before pre-pregnancy

Second was 6.14 (40w2d) all natural no tears 22lb weight gain. Went home 12 hours later. Very easy recovery

My last was 8.9 (41w4d) all natural no tears, 30-35lb weight gain. Recovery was easy.

For me what made the differences wasn't made by the length of pregnancy or the weight I gained or didn't but my condition before/during pregnancy and the circumstances of the birth.

Israel, mom to  DD, Ivy, 4-27-06 :and DS, Kai, 12-29-07 and DD, Lilith 2-1-10 and always remembering Alice fullterm stillborn 08/31/11 (unexplained placental abruption) 

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#5 of 15 Old 06-07-2010, 09:43 PM - Thread Starter
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thanks everyone! interestingly, even w/ small babies i needed a 3rd degree episiotomy w/ my 2 lber and i tore w/ the 4 lber, but not enough to require stitches.. i do remember some pain from that- especially w/ the 2 lber and having to care for those stitches..

the more i think about it, i realized i tend to recover quickly from a lot of things.. when i get sick i get better quickly w/ the same illnesses that will knock other people out for a day or so.. i don't tend to get incapacitated from injuries or anything.. so maybe it's a combination of factors..
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#6 of 15 Old 06-08-2010, 10:07 AM
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My son was 9lbs 12oz and I have to say recovery was not easy for me.
It probably wasn't helped by the fact he was also asynclitic which lead to a long hard labor and significant tearing.
In any case I couldn't walk/sit comfortably for weeks, had trouble carrying my son, and my body just generally felt like it had been beaten to a pulp for at least a full week after.
I was lucky to have my mom come help me for a full 3 weeks and I don't know what I would have done without her. She basically made sure all I had to do was feed my son.
I'm 10wks PP now and still have some discomfort where I tore.

mama to two little men...3/25/2010 and 10/3/2013
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#7 of 15 Old 06-08-2010, 12:48 PM
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My kids ranged from 7lb9oz to 9lb2oz. The two that were more difficult to recover from were my first (7lb9oz) and fourth (8lb10oz). First was my only epidural, fourth was a rushed delivery (dropped heart rate) and my only serious tear.
Even with the fourth, I was up and walking around right away. I was much more cautious with the first, but that could be just b/c it was all new to me. Overall, I've been pretty fortunate.

Baby size hasn't seemed to play a role in recovery for me.

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#8 of 15 Old 06-08-2010, 02:01 PM
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Recovery from a 6 lb-er and an 8 lb-er just about the same IME! I don't remember there being much difference. Both were long hard labours, barely tore with 6lb DD1 (1 stitch), didn't tear at all with 8lb DD2, still pretty achy and sting-y with both.
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#9 of 15 Old 06-08-2010, 08:10 PM
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My DD was 10 days late, 10 lbs 11 oz. I had a second degree tear and I had very few problems recovering. 3 days after the birth I was scrubbing my house from top to bottom (my nesting instinct kicked in after the baby was born, not before) for the next few days. It felt good to be moving and stretching. I had gained 85 ponds during my pregnancy and towards the end had a lot of trouble moving around and was very uncomfortable. I was a little sore at the tear, but it didn't really bother me.
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#10 of 15 Old 06-08-2010, 09:18 PM
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My first was a 4 lb preemie and I tore horribly. Had an awful recovery - pain and fatigue for months.

My third baby was my largest and by far my easiest recovery. I had been taking alfalfa supplements during that pregnancy,which helped minimize postpartum bleeding, and gave me my energy back within days. Good thing, too because I had to keep up with the older kids...
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#11 of 15 Old 06-08-2010, 09:32 PM
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My first was 8.1. I had a small episiotomy. I felt a lot of tenderness in the region, but didn't have any problems sitting or walking, just more of a feeling that I was seriously bruised. Anyhow, it took me a few weeks to recover and about 6 to feel somewhat back to normal. I think it was just such a shock for my body. I was also learning to breastfeed and not having an easy time of it, the lack of sleep, the constant fretting, had PPD and felt pretty lonely and isolated.

Number two was 9.1. I tore with him (not badly) and that bothered me for a week or two. Everyone always says it's easier to recover from a tear, but not in my experience. That said, I was up that day, back to normal in a couple. My milk still took it's sweet time coming in, but I wasn't nearly as stressed, my body had the BTDT approach and I had lots more support, mom friends, and we were broken in as far as the lack of sleep, so we managed a lot better.

Ask me in a couple of months when I deliver the Rock of Gilbraltar growing inside me.

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#12 of 15 Old 06-09-2010, 01:10 AM
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I think it's probably different for everyone.

My son was 9 lbs when he was born. I had a fast (~5 hrs) drug-free labor with a very minor tear and no episiotomy. After labor, I felt great... the only part of me that hurt were my arms, from pulling on the birthing stool. My blood pressure dropped fairly low after he was born, so I didn't do much walking around until the next day. I never had significant pain from the tear or anything though, and never even ended up using my sitz bath.

Mother of two great little guys, G (9/28/09) and W (1/20/12)

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#13 of 15 Old 06-10-2010, 09:12 AM
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I tore less (not at all actually) and recovered way more easily from my bigger baby, though the difference in weight wasn't huge (7-12 and approx. 8-1; we didn't weigh her til the day after she was born).

Laura, CBE and mom to Maddiewaterbirth.jpg ( 06/03/04) & Graceuc.jpg (  09/10/06)
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#14 of 15 Old 06-11-2010, 12:57 PM
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My first was my smallest (6# 9 oz) and the hardest recovery - I did something weird to my tailbone while pushing her out. It wasn't terrible, but walking felt strange at first and sitting hurt for about a week.

My second was 8#6, my third 8#8, and both very easy recoveries. My third was the easiest - I think because I had the easiest labor (it all happened during the day so I didn't lose sleep). In fact, both times I felt normal pretty quickly and was frustrated that people kept telling me to take it easy and rest.
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#15 of 15 Old 06-11-2010, 01:21 PM
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My second was 2 pounds smaller, and it was a much easier recovery.

I'm due Monday with #3, and I'm thinking his/her size is more like #1, so I'll be curious to compare.
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