Miranda Kerr gave birth to a baby weighing almost ten pounds without pain medication or other interventions. Kerr wrote on her website, "I did natural birth too, no drugs or pain killers!!! Love Miranda xxx."
I'm not saying this to set the bar high and make everyone feel bad who doesn't jump for joy at the idea of pushing a ten-pound baby out without pain medication. I don't care how you cope with pain. I'm saying this because, despite what many women are told these days, it's possible to give birth to a dreaded "big baby."
There is a persistent myth circulating about the big babies and birth, and it's doing such a disservice to pregnant women. You hear all the time, Oh…. it's a big baby. You know what that means: a c-section is coming down the pike. But are c-sections really necessary for big babies? And are there really so many big babies these days as to justify the medical interventions required to pry them out?
Here's what you need to know:
1. The size of a baby, as predicted by sonogram, is wildly unreliable.
The guesses should not even be attempted as they can be as much as two pounds off either way.
2. It's not the size (in almost all cases). It's the positioning.
Even if the baby is big, there's no way to predict how this will affect labor. In most cases, it's not the size of the baby or the size of the pelvis that matters. It's the way the baby and pelvis work together in labor. And this is something you can only know in labor. The way your hips and positioning work is not something a doctor can tell you by looking at you. It's not something you can know from having a big husband or being petite. Miranda Kerr is a slim-hipped model. Even small women are able to give birth to large babies. So the idea that in advance of birth a midwife or doctor can call "big baby" and order up some medical maneuvers- maybe an early induction so that baby doesn't grow anymore- may be an invitation for unnecessary risk. Too often you hear of a c-section called because the baby was big and then the baby comes out at 7 pounds 8 ounces (the average size). Even when the baby is big, it's usually a combination of factors that lead to the surgery, not just size alone.
There can be times when positioning is not working for birth, no matter how much mom is moving and squatting. Sometimes the baby is breach or transverse or even just at an odd angle unfavorable for a vaginal birth. In these cases surgery may be the option with the fewest risks involved.
3. The reality of a truly big baby can happen but it's not as common as we're led to believe.
Now, real cases of very big babies do exist. There is something called impending fetal macrosemia; the baby has grown too big for a safe vaginal birth, basically. These babies are sometimes called "sugar soaked" as they're usually born to obese mothers with severe diabetes. Even in those cases, it's not that common. Macrosemia usually necessitates c-section; the risk is that the baby's body is larger than the head and may get stuck. A scary image I know, but wait, this is not what's happening to most women. Or to Miranda Kerr. She just had a big, healthy baby like many women do.
For more facts about delivering large babies, visit Babble.