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Thread: big baby = hard labour?

  1. #1

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    Default big baby = hard labour?

    I'm sure this has been done but I can't find a thread, sorry if so!

    I was wondering if a bigger baby means a more dificult labour. My daughter was 9lb (4kg 110gms) and 55cm and my labour was very difficult. I had an epidural, which stopped the contractions, but I was still in a huge amount of pain as she was decending. I haven't had another mother tell me they experienced this after an epidural. I'm sure some of it has to do with the strength of the epi, and for my top-up they gave me some sort of narcotic instead of the usual fluid they use. Could that have had something to do with it?


  2. #2

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    Baby-socks - I don't really know anything about the epidural bit, sorry. But as far as the big baby thing goes, no, a bigger baby does not necessarily mean a harder labour. It will depend a lot on the position of the baby, and whether the weight is in fat, or bone, if you know what I mean. A baby with a big head and broad shoulders is probably going to be a little harder to push out than a chubby, but petite boned, baby. I've also heard it said that a big baby is easier than a small one because a vigorous, strong baby "helps" to deliver itself by straining and stretching against the push of the uterus. I can't say whether that's true or not, but it's something to consider.
    All the best!

  3. #3

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    Giving birth is hard work no matter what size the baby is - it all depends on how we manage it that can make it easier or harder. having an epidural can make things more difficult simply because you have to lay down to birth, regardless of the size of bubs.

    I agree with Cricket though on the bone structure of the baby making a difference too - my last baby was just over 10lb and he had a huge frame and he certainly just didn't slide out, I pushed him the whole way LOL. And again the position of the baby makes it harder too - my last two births were posterior ones and they were harder than the first two (and my first baby was over 9lb).

    It really is a mind over matter thing too - if you think it will be hard, then it probably will be, the key is to listen to your body and just go with what it is telling you - your body *knows* what to do so trust it.

  4. #4

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    Thanks for the replies.

    Sherie, how long were your babies? My daughter was long as well as heavy so I imagine that she'd be like your babies; big bone structure. Both me and my partner have large bone structures.

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    They were really long, my first was 4.18 kg and 56cm, my 3rd was 4.32 and 57 and my 4th was 4.56 and 59cm. My 2nd was my tiny titch at 3.85 and 52cm LOL.

  6. #6

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    Yep I have to say I agree totally. I had an emerg c/s with Paris and Seth was my vbac @ 9lb11oz, Paris was 10oz smaller. Whilst I hadn't given birth before, I found Seth pretty easy and I didn't tear or anything. It depends on how effective your birth is not how big the baby is As my ob said to me he's seen a woman struggle with a 5lber and push out a 10lber with ease. I think its something we like to think makes things "hard" but its not necessarily so.

  7. #7

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    That's interesting about the inadequate support making labour harder. I guess it makes sense...I'll jump on the bandwagon about this with DH!! Thankfully a friend who is also my massage therapist is also going to be available if necessary for a bit of extra support while I'm in labour. Not sure if I'll have her in the birthing suite, but we'll wait and see.

    James was 9lb 2oz and I'm expecting Ramlet to be a big 'un too...but I'm much better prepared mentally and physically this time I believe. I honestly can't wait to see how it goes!

  8. #8
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    my 3rd son was 9pound 12ounces, and he pushed himself out, I didn't have to do anything other than let my contractions do the work. I don't know if that had to do with the sheer size of him or not.

    childbirth is intriguing, every woman's birth experiences are so different and it is not all textbook.
    This is why I am so nervous about birthing my 4th son (due 1st feb, 08), every labour is different
    too.

    Also does anyone think that a bigger baby makes for a longer labour or is that just myth too?

  9. #9
    paradise lost Guest

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    Most of labour is dilation and i can't see how the size of the baby makes much difference unless their head is way bigger (because we always talk about 2cm or 6cm or 10cm dilated but in fact it's more of a measure of how open the cervix is in relation to the head - like a baby with a 33cm head will begin to descend when the cervix is open enough to get through, a baby with a 39cm head will need a wider opening to get through which might take another hour or so?). I think the 2nd stage could be longer with a big baby, but that would depend on position too - a little posterior baby might take a lot longer to descend than a big anterior baby.

    I think with labours you can only compare them to yourself and other kids. Like you could say if your #1 was more difficult than #2, but you'll never know how someone else's #1 felt, so you can't really know which was harder.

    Baby socks i think that some of the pain might have been from the epidural wearing off - labour builds up gradually and when you suddenly get end of 1st stage/descent of head sensations without the build up before of both sensations and endorphins, well, that must have been excrutiating! My SIL had an epidural with her #1, induction, which they turned off when she was fully dilated and got her pushing an hour later, by the time her DD was crowning she could feel again and she was almost fainting with the pain. With #2 she just had a bit of peth and a shower and was much happier with the experience. She said afterwards that she felt the fact that people think epidurals will take the pain away is awful as when it comes back (which is often does, since they like to you feel at least a little to push) it is such a shock. FWIW at the point i was fully dilated i was still drug-free and when her head began to descend (i pooped a bit, without pushing, so i assume that's why) i had the urge to push and couldn't stop it. The midwives weren't there (i was a homebirth and my midwife had popped back to hospital as i was only 3cm when she checked me - DD's head began to come down an hour later!), and i pushed a tiny bit (because i couldn't help it) and the AGONY was so breath-taking - i was on my hands and knees and i LEAPT up because i felt like she was coming too fast and sat in a chair instead. Because i'd been 3cm only an hour before i thought i'd torn my cervix or something - very scary. When the midwives came back my contractions were too hard for me to tell them about it, and DD was born 2 hours later, without any pushing from me until she was fully crowned.

    Bx

  10. #10

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    A bigger baby means more gravity help, so should be easier... assuming the medical people haven't got you on your back so you're pushing uphill, so to speak (and you do have to push when it's going uphill). Suga is right, the support really lends itself to what sort of labour and birth you will have more than the baby in many cases.

    Bec, I found the contraction pain, even when the epi wore off and I could feel the augmented contractions, was nothing. DS's had was nothing (but I had started pushing pre-epi). The pain inflicted on me by people other than my baby... that hurt quite a lot, but that hurt with an epi and I challenge anyone to not find it painful!

  11. #11

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    ^^ I gave birth in the semi-reclined position because when I was on my knees with my torso resting on the bed (it was a hospital bed and the top part of the matress was remote-controlled) got things going but then everything stopped once she got to a certain spot.

    I am officially having a homebirth with the rest of my bubs!

  12. #12

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    I sort of asked my obstetrician about this - more in terms of whether because I had forceps (after an epi) the first time whether it was likely I'd need forceps again potentially for no. 2.

    After he said "no" I was only half-listening (!) but he did talk about the strength of the uterus having a lot to do with it and told me that in my case I was trying to get a big baby out of a small hole but that next time it's likely to be easier as the uterus will be stronger. He also said that having an epidural doesn't really affect this because some women who've had them will end up with their uterus naturally pushing the baby to their perineum almost before they know whereas others (like me) can push for 2.5 hours with nothing doing.

    He also talked about the relationship between a woman's shoe size and the baby's birth weight. Again, I was only half-listening (sorry this was after being in labour for 3ish days so mind a bit fuzzy) and I can't remember whether he said a baby's birthweight should be around 1 pound larger than her shoe size OR whether he said that a woman should be able to comfortably birth a baby 1 pound larger than her shoe size. Slight difference in those two things but general gist is that there's a natural correlation.

    Anyhoo, I have very small feet (size 5 and a half - Hoobley, this is a UK 3.5), so I 'should' have had a baby who was 6 and a half pounds. So the fact that my daughter was 8 pounds 10oz was actually very large FOR ME, though obviously not ginormous in the whole scheme of things.

    I know that theory sounds very dubious but he is no crackpot!

  13. #13

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    dunno about the shoe size thing - think it also depends on the woman/baby combination. I have a 5.5 shoe size... Alex was 4lbs 2oz and Ned was almost 10lbs!

    (mind you they were both c/s for different reasons, but I'd like to think my body would only grow a baby that I would be "able" to push out!)

  14. #14
    paradise lost Guest

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    i think AUS 5.5 is a UK 4.5 Fionas. I've heard that theory before but there's Japanese woman at our toddler group who is a UK size 2 and her babies were 8lb9oz and 9lbs13oz (her husband is caucasion and 6'3") and she didn't even TEAR, so i have to say i don't think it rings true for her anyway. As a theory it's been around a long time, a bit like a man's feet corresponding to his penis size...that one's never been true for me either. LOL.

    Bx

  15. #15

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    DS was 10lb 4oz, and about 55cm (the midwife measure him twice at 59, but at his first MCHN check he was 56cm)
    I had a fairly easy labour. contractions were very strong, no coming and going once they were there they were there to stay. Was about 6 and a half hours all up. Was the pushing part that was hard as his HC was 38cm. It took a very long time to get his head out. I was in the unfortunate position to be on my back even though I had a lot of support for an active birth, my legs had other ideas and cramped up to the point I couldnt sit or stand.

  16. #16

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    I had 3 largish bubs, and each labour had some good and bad points, for two out of the three I stood up and leaned on the high hospital bed to deliver them and they seemed to come out fairly easily. Their heads were all around 36cm and I did tear but the rest of their body just slipped out on the next push. I think it has a lot to do with the mothers shape, and the position of the baby.

  17. #17

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    I know what you're saying Hoobley and there's always going to be exceptions - infact me and DD are exceptions to that rule. I guess it did ring true for me because my daughter was at the 90th percentile when she was born and gradually went down to the 50th which is where she would have started at if she had been one pound bigger than my shoe size. I was borderline GD so I think she was larger than she should have been. Plus, her loss of weight/failure to stay at the 90th was actually a big factor in my breastfeeding disaster ie. being told that she was losing weight/failing to thrive whereas I think she was just getting down to her 'proper' size.

    BTW, I'm sure you're right about 5.5 Aus being 4.5 UK on the official charts - all I know is that I always took a UK size 3.5 (I left Blighty for the Lucky Country when I was 23). Infact, all my friends see it as a bit of a party trick and when they introduce me to people often end up saying, "Fiona, show so and so your silly little hands and feet" (I'm 5 foot 6 so I'm completely out of proportion). I now get quite cross if I find someone with smaller hands and feet than me. Completely ridiculous I know!

  18. #18

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    i dont believe a big baby = hard labour, i think my labour would have been exaclty the same if DS was only 6lb. DS was posterior so my labour was difficult but dont think that had anything to do with him being 9lb6oz.

    Oh my goodness, im glad i didn't birth a baby 1pound bigger than my shoe size, the baby would have been 12lbs!!

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