BIG BABIES

I love big, healthy babies! It does baffle me that some care providers are seemingly so afraid of them – and it seems to me that this fear is grossly misdirected.

Let me tell you about two babies that I was lucky enough to see enter this world in the last couple of weeks.

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The first story starts 2.5 weeks ago when I got the call from my client – a first time mother – that her water had just broken. Her fluid was clear and baby was moving well, no contractions to really take notice of…so we waited for labor to begin in its own time.

Hours later she started to feel contractions getting stronger…and soon vita mutari had begun. She moved quickly through her labor with the use of a birth pool, her husband, and her doula and only 5 ½ hours after she started working through the mutari she began spontaneously pushing. This amazing first time mother pushed with impressive strength and commitment – and in only 26 minutes she pushed out her beautiful baby girl! She snuggled with her baby for a while before birthing her placenta and moving to the bed to snuggle in as a family. After finally clamping and cutting the cord, daddy got a cuddle and we were finally able to weigh this sweetheart. As I took baby Brooklyn from her daddy’s arms, I laughed at her rolls and chub. I placed her onto our scale and watched the numbers as they came up: 10 pounds 0 ounces.

I handed baby Brooklyn back to her mama and she nursed like a champ. In under half an hour this first time mom pushed out a 10 pound baby without a problem…and no tears.

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Two days ago we helped another big baby slip into his daddy’s hands. Again, labor started with her water breaking – and again, we waited. Labor began, mom pushed when she felt ready to push…and soon after mom began really pushing, we saw the baby crowning – with the head still ‘in the caul’ (meaning, there was a small hole leaking fluid up above, but the baby’s head was born encased in the membranes as if he was inside a water balloon). The head was totally out and still covered in the membranes – a beautiful sight! One more push and the shoulders came free and the membranes tore away. Daddy caught him as he wriggled free and handed him to his mother. Baby Jacob snuggled into his mama’s chest, happy as can be. We were expecting a large baby – this was moms 4th child and all had been big. When they were ready, we took him and gently placed him on the scale – 11 pounds 8 ounces! What a strong, hefty baby! Oh, and again….no tears.

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Why is it that so many people are told that they should be afraid of big babies? There are a few reasons…

1. “A big baby may mean an unhealthy baby” – yes, this is true, and is a good reason to be concerned. Someone with uncontrolled diabetes can grow a baby that is unhealthy, too large for her body, with organ issues and such that can negatively impact the baby. This is not a “large baby”! This is an unhealthy baby…and that’s not the same thing. If this is the reason that you are worried about big babies, then your BEST solution is to eat healthy! Get rid of the processed foods, junk foods, sugary snacks…. I KNOW that you know how you should eat, you just might choose not to do it. I understand, it’s hard…I know how hard it can be! Believe me, I love food as much as the next person (probably a lot more!). But knowing that it can prevent an unhealthy baby and dangerous birth – I hope that’s enough motivation for most people.

2. “Shoulder Dystocia (when the head is born but the shoulders get hung up and don’t want to come out after the head is born)” – this is often what is shouted from the hillside as a reason to fear big babies…the dreaded shoulder dystocia. Don’t get me wrong, I am afraid of shoulder dystocia, too! But inducing early, elective cesareans…those aren’t my solutions to shoulder dystocia! I’m speaking to the doctors now – if you are really afraid of shoulder dystocias, then why are you a fan of epidurals where a mother can’t feel her pushing, laying a woman on her back so that she’s pushing uphill, restricting her moments, inducing or augmenting her labor, yelling at her to “push push push…1, 2, 3….”? Those things increase the risk of shoulder dystocia much more than big babies do!! So we are terrified of shoulder dystocia, yet we go after the little fish in the pond instead of the big fish. That’s like saying you are afraid of your house burning down….but rather than removing the cans of gasoline in the garage, making sure the wiring is up to date, taking precautions with your fireplace – you replace the batteries in your smoke detector and say that now you feel safe. Your smoke detectors aren’t the CAUSE of the fires…and healthy big babies aren’t the CAUSE of shoulder dystocia.

3. “Big babies cause tears.” – I just don’t believe this! Big babies don’t cause tears as much as impatient care providers, rough perineal massage, epidurals, lithotomy position, coached pushing, poor diet in pregnancy, dehydration…! The two largest babies I’ve ever seen born were 11 lbs 8 ounces (this weekend), and 13 pounds 5 ounces (many years ago). Neither mom tore at all. (see #2 analogy of smoke detectors)

I love healthy babies – small healthy babies, or big healthy babies. I think that rather than spending her time worrying that the baby will be too big, moms should just worry about eating good, healthy foods and making sure that she is prepared to help her baby be born with her full help in their own time. Her pelvis is made to open, baby’s head is made to mold and shape to fit through – and most of the time it works if we give moms and babies every opportunity to LET it work!

But as I hold these yummy newborn babies with their beautiful chubs and rolls – all I can think is that I love them… and what’s not to love?

15 Comments

  1. Erika Obert wrote:

    Our last baby, our fifth, was 10# even. No tears, unassisted home water birth.

    Monday, May 17, 2010 at 10:39 pm | Permalink
  2. Tangie wrote:

    Man alive I LOVE your blogs!

    Monday, May 17, 2010 at 11:59 pm | Permalink
  3. mishalee wrote:

    Yay for big babies!

    Tuesday, May 18, 2010 at 11:06 am | Permalink
  4. Christy wrote:

    Humm…wonder why you chose to write this…Thank you!

    Tuesday, May 18, 2010 at 1:08 pm | Permalink
  5. Emily wrote:

    My second child was 11 lbs 10 oz. I gained 25 lbs and did not have GD! He was delivered at home, it was SO much easier than my first birth with a much smaller baby.

    Tuesday, May 18, 2010 at 1:42 pm | Permalink
  6. Moxie wrote:

    Lovely post! My last baby was 9lbs 11oz and was the easiest birth yet – three minutes to push her out after 50 mins of labour. No tears, no meds and I healed quicker than with my previous two babies. Big babies are lovely! ♥

    Tuesday, May 18, 2010 at 2:21 pm | Permalink
  7. Jennifer wrote:

    My daughter was born by unnecesarean at 38W and was 7lb, 10oz (stress-related BP issues because of Dr’s trying to rush me through everything). I am planning my HBAC in Early July, and have no fear of a big baby (and I just have this “feeling” he might be big), because I have a wonderful, patient, Midwife and I know my body can do it (and good BP this time around, LOL)

    Tuesday, May 18, 2010 at 2:49 pm | Permalink
  8. Kelli wrote:

    You know one reason I hope this baby is big…better than a biopsy to know all has healed. But lately I have started to think of all that baby fat as padding and cushioning to keep me intact. Wouldn’t it be nice for all mamas to think of chubby newborns as soft squishy padding at birth?

    Tuesday, May 18, 2010 at 2:52 pm | Permalink
  9. Bailey wrote:

    I love this so much. I had two big babies myself. The first, 10 lbs 0 oz. The second 9 lbs 4 oz. The best part? They were both born at home. Although…..shoulder distocia with both. But I had very experienced and wonderful midwives. No problems, no tears and no worries. Thanks for this.

    Tuesday, May 18, 2010 at 3:06 pm | Permalink
  10. Katie wrote:

    Preach it sister! Just birthed a 10#6 oz 2 week over due little boy. By far my easiest birth. I even pushed out the shoulders before they turned. Not a tear or skidmark.

    Tuesday, May 18, 2010 at 5:24 pm | Permalink
  11. I second Tangie, above :)

    Tuesday, May 18, 2010 at 5:46 pm | Permalink
  12. Thank you for sharing these stories. It was very timely for me and just what I needed to hear. Trust Birth.

    Wednesday, May 19, 2010 at 5:28 am | Permalink
  13. Sheridan wrote:

    YAY, I love your post. I am linking to it from my big baby page.
    http://www.pregnancybirthandbabies.com/Big_baby.htm
    I made the page because I had so many moms on my Hypnobabies Yahoo Group being told they needed cesareans or to be induced because of a “big baby”

    Friday, May 21, 2010 at 10:12 am | Permalink
  14. Maria wrote:

    My midwife told me at our last visit (at about 38wks, my 4th birth 3rd planned home birth after a 1st c-sect.)…”This is the point at which we tell moms to stop drinking juice and cut carbs…so the baby doesn’t get too big.” I don’t have GD nor have my other kids been especially big. When I mentioned the midwives advice to my mom she said…”We don’t put babies on diets.” Yeah mom! I appreciate her support.

    Friday, May 21, 2010 at 1:36 pm | Permalink
  15. Susan Peterson wrote:

    I had nine children, the last 6 born at home. The smallest was about 8 1/2 pounds, the largest was almost 13 pounds.I averaged about ten pounds. With the near 13 pounder I had a tiny little tear along the old episiotomy scar, so small the doctor (he always came after the births, to check me) said I didn’t really even need to be stitched. My last baby was 10-4; I had one painful contraction and no more than a few minutes of pushing.
    I tested negative for GD but always wondered if I didn’t have a bit of it. How big can a baby be from just healthiness? Is there such a thing as too big? The near 13 pounder was very very hungry and nursed for about 12 hours nonstop, and got kind of twitchy. I had a nursing mom friend nurse him, we both fell asleep, and when I woke up my milk was in and all was fine.

    Wish I could do it again, but my youngest is 20 and I am nearly 60.
    Blessings to all!

    Tuesday, May 25, 2010 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

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  1. [...] Hearts Birth Services posted some thoughts on big babies and why the shouldn’t be so scary after all, as well as a story and pictures of a first-time mom birthing a 10-pound baby in the water. [...]

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