Baby too big?

by Melissa

(Washington, USA)

I was wondering about delivering a baby naturally at home when the pelvis is not wide enough for a larger baby.

I’ve never been pregnant before but we are planning to conceive soon. I am very interested in a home birth but am worried about delivering a baby at home for the first time thinking the baby will be too large.

My mother had 3 c-sections because all 3 of us were “too big” to pass through the pelvis(8, 9 & 10 lbs). My husband, also, was on the larger size, 8 lbs. So I have a feeling my baby could be too big to deliver naturally. Do you have any suggestions, ideas or encouragement for me?

Answer:

Melissa,

I think you absolutely can birth your baby(ies) – even a big baby at home, naturally.

I’ll share my personal experience: I have given birth to four babies, and two of those babies were over 8lbs. My biggest was 8lbs, 10oz and he had a HUGE barrel chest! I was able to deliver him naturally.

My own mother had two c-sections and when I was pregnant with my first child I had the same worries as you. I was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to deliver naturally because my mother couldn’t.

I talked my concerns over with my midwife and she helped me work through them. I went on to have a lovely natural birth to my almost 8lb daughter (7lbs 14oz).

My cousins have all had vaginal births, too, and there were several 8lb and 9lb babies in there!

I truly think in a lot of instances our mothers were not given the opportunity to try and have “big” babies naturally.

Both of my midwives tell stories of many, many 8lb, 9lb, and 10lb babies. There are even 11lb and 12lb babies in their stories from time to time!

Even now you can look around for prospective midwives and if you find one you like, you could tell her your concerns. She can check and tell you if your pelvis has ample room for a baby.

Unless you suffered from nutritional deficiencies as a child, however, the likelihood of you being unable to deliver even a “big” baby vaginally is slim.

True cephalopelvic dispraportion (baby being too big for the pelvis) is pretty rare and generally only occurs if the mother experienced malnutrition during her growing years. It’s often used as a convenient excuse to whip a mother in for a quick c-section, however. Or worse, to cover up for the fact that hospital procedures and rules completely ruined a mother’s healthy labor progression.

During pregnancy your body will produce a substance called Relaxin. As the name suggests it will soften and relax all your joints.

You can feel the top of your pubic bone and your tailbone/sacrum now. These places are not fused solid. They’re connected by strong cartilage. As the Relaxin begins flowing in your body during pregnancy the cartilage is going to get even softer and your pelvis is going to become very flexible. It will be flexible enough to accommodate your baby!

In addition, your baby is going to work with your body during birth. It’s really amazing. Your baby will move, work, and twist throughout his or her birth to help work down through your bones. Your baby will have an especially excellent chance to move during a home birth because you’ll be able to move and reposition yourself to help your baby.

Here are some additional recommendations:

I strongly, strongly recommend you buy and read Ina May’s books. She talks about this in depth, and there are tons of birth stories that will really inspire you. I would recommend Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth first, then Spiritual Midwifery.

Once you’re pregnant and getting towards your second trimester I encourage you to look at The Pink Kit. I think it would really help you because there’s a lot of information on understanding how your own pelvis is structured and how you can work with your structure during labor and birthing. It will give you a lot of confidence.

Also be sure to pay careful attention to your nutrition now in the preconception period, and especially during pregnancy. Good nutrition will help your baby have a good birth weight (studies show babies with a good birth weight have easier deliveries than low-birthweight babies!) It will also give you the energy you’ll need to birth your baby naturally when your baby’s birthday arrives.

Ok, I’ll leave you with a mildly embarrassing pic of me. In this pic I was very (very) early pregnant with my first kiddo – as you can see I was a really little thing. And a huge tomboy to boot! And despite that (and despite everyone telling me I couldn’t do it) I had my baby at home, naturally. I think you can, too :)

me very early pregnant with my first baby