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Can you deliver a baby that weighs more than eight pounds naturally?

pregnantThe largest baby I had ever delivered was a ten pound ten ounce baby boy. If you don’t already know that’s pretty big. We have all heard of mothers delivering 14 and 15 pound babies naturally, but they’re extremely rare.

I consider myself to be a rare breed. Everyone I talk to (even the nurses who helped deliver him) could not believe that I had delivered a baby that large. I think that if my doctors had known he’s grown to that size I would have been given a cesarean section for sure. The thought of having a cesarean section scared me more than birthing a large baby did. Labor was more in my control, while surgery was not. My doctor told me that I was narrow and probably wouldn’t be able to squeeze out even an eight pound baby; I guess she was wrong.

Can you deliver a large baby naturally/without medication?

Only 1.5% of babies delivered in the United States are between nine and fifteen pounds, those are the babies delivered to mothers who were full term and who weren’t diabetic” (Dekker, PHD 2011). I couldn’t believe that I had delivered a baby that large, but it didn’t hit me until recently how rare that really is. I had a normal vaginal birth without any medication. For one I was late arriving to the hospital so they wouldn’t give me any, but I really didn’t need it, it went by so quickly!

Is labor more difficult with a large baby?

Delivery wasn’t any harder with my large baby than it was with my two others. My two other babies were roughly 6 and 7 pounds and those deliveries were actually the most difficult believe it or not! My labor with the smaller babies was longer and more painful. I think the size and weight of the large baby (my second baby) really helped influence how quickly it responded to the gravity as well as my pushing. I went into labor and the contractions really weren’t that bad. I didn’t even know I was fully in labor until I was fully dilated. I almost had him on the way to the hospital and was told that if he were any smaller I would have had him in the car! Yikes!

How rare are large babies that are delivered naturally?

The term for large babies is Macrosomia, which literally means large body” (Dekker Phd, 2011). A baby is considered large when it is bigger than eight and a half pounds. “Large babies are born to every one out of ten woman” (Dekker Phd, 2011). Those are just the babies who are above eight pounds, babies who are ten or eleven pounds are a fewer and further between.

Can you tell how big the baby is without an ultrasound?

No, you cannot! I gained a lot of weight with that one but it was only because he was about two weeks late; not necessarily because of his large size. I also remember asking my midwife (because my doctor was on vacation) how big my baby was getting while she did the external palpation. She said he was about six pounds (this was a week before I gave birth) and that was obviously very inaccurate; it can even be difficult to determine via ultrasound. Once a baby is full term or close to full term it’s very difficult to get a clear picture of everything.

Complications of delivering a large baby

A baby over eight pounds is considered a large baby, and there is always a larger risk for complications when the baby is “too large”. There can be complications with any birth, not just birth with larger babies. Shoulders can get stuck no matter the weight of the baby. The head is the first difficult part and normally the shoulders will easily slide out, but in some cases, the shoulders can get stuck. Bleeding too much after giving birth can also be a complication of delivering a large baby. It was a concern while I was in the hospital. I tore, but there was no excessive bleeding.

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