When I read the January 11th New York Times Well blog, titled When A Big Baby Isn’t So Big, I looked back on my career as a labor nurse and thought, “Yep – happens all the time.” Predictions for a “too big baby” were among the most common reasons I heard from women admitted to my labor unit for induction of labor or scheduled cesarean sections. In most cases, once the baby was delivered, either vaginally or surgically, they weren’t all that big after all.
The New York Times blog is centered around a recent study based on Childbirth Connection’s national survey of 1,960 new mothers, called Listening to Mothers III. The survey indicates that four out of five mothers who were warned they might have large babies gave birth to infants who were not large, and weighed less than 8 pounds 13 ounces (which defines macrosomia – a larger than average baby). These mothers were almost twice as likely to have interventions like medical induction of labor or attempt to self-induce labor, presumably so their baby wouldn’t get too big to deliver vaginally. They were also nearly twice as likely to have planned C-sections, though as the blog mentions, researchers say that increase fell just short of being statistically meaningful.
(click link to read the blog on the Every Mother Counts website)
So What are Your Birth Options with a Big Baby?
Having birthed four big babies myself and through my involvement in the birthing scene ever since, I have come to conclude that if you are carrying a suspected large baby then you need to put a bit of extra planning into planning the birth. I like to use the acronym ACE IT to help plan a big baby’s birth. (click link to read article)
Thousands of women are diagnosed with suspected big babies (or ‘macrosomia’ to use the medical terminology) every year, but this one simple label can have a profound effect on their birth. Obstetric consultants often take the results of growth scans as gospel, scheduling elective C-Sections or inductions as a result of them, but how accurate are these estimates? and does early induction or elective C-Section really prevent problems if a baby is extra large? – you might be surprised at the answer! (click link to read on sarahockwell-smith.com)
What is a big baby?
The medical term for big baby is macrosomia, which literally means “big body.” Some experts consider a baby to be big when it weighs more than 4,000 grams (8 pounds 13 ounces) at birth, and others say a baby is big if it weighs more than 4,500 grams (9 pounds, 15 ounces). A baby is also called “large for gestational age” if its weight is greater than the 90th percentile at birth. (CLICK link above to read article)