You're approaching your due date, FINALLY and getting ready to meet that little bundle of joy in 6 short weeks (that feels like a lifetime). You get your last sneak peek of your baby via ultrasound.
Your following appointment on Monday your Doctor tells you, baby is measuring pretty big. You're only 34 weeks and baby is already a whopping 8lbs! "OH SHIT" runs through your mind.
Big Baby Syndrome is also known as Macrosomia. This is a genuine medical concern that in some cases can lead to shoulder dystocia, which can contribute to a wide range of further medical concerns. Shoulder dystocia is unpreventable and unpredictable. Perhaps that’s what makes it so scary for care providers, the unknown, which they have a total right to be. The unknown is scary. This IS an important piece of information to know for care providers. They want their clients to have healthy babies. But this is the thing, it's unpredictable. The only telltale way to figure out if that baby will come out, is letting labor happen.
A study from the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology states that shoulder dystocia occurs infrequently, with rates ranging from 0.2 percent to 3 percent of all vaginal deliveries.
Ultrasound measurements can be inaccurate, within 10% or more either way. Studies have showed time and time again that this piece of information is very significant to be aware of. But this means that 9 pound baby they're estimating, could turn out to only be 8. The cause for this inaccuracy is baby's weight cannot be measured directly; it must be estimated from fetal and maternal structural characteristics. They take bits and pieces of information and place them together to come up with their number. Variants that can alter results include, baby's position, placenta position, amount of amniotic fluid, and Biophysical profile.
The real problem here, this is placing unnecessary anxiety and worry into the families minds, typically the expectant parent. Those last few weeks are nerve-wracking enough as it is. Throw a "big baby" into the mix, and now you have another thing to worry about. You deserve to have a stress-free pregnancy. But baby's weight is only one piece of the puzzle to your entire birth.
My daughter was estimated that she would be close to 10lbs at birth. Being a first time mother, this scared me to death. My doctor was concerned as well, mentioning induction on my due date, a cesarean, all because of this estimation. So there goes my drive and empowerment. I was so excited to give birth, and now, I was scared shitless. I'm petite, where can a ten pound baby even fit in there?! I can't push a ten pound baby out. That's 1/10th of my own weight! “You have a size ten baby coming out of a size seven pelvis,” - this was said as I pushed for two hours. Talk about defeating. Eventually I did push my baby out, with a little help. Bailee was nearly a week overdue and was 8lbs 1oz. Lesson learned, don't freak out about this number.
So I asked a few woman, what their experience with ultrasound vs. birth weight was....
"I was told my whole pregnancy that he was a big baby. He was 10lbs 4oz and I delivered natural at 38w6d" - Tiana Brown
"We were induced at 36 weeks with Wesson. He was estimated to be a little under 4 pounds. He was 5lbs 12oz." - Lindsey Woodward
"My midwife was worried my daughter would be big. But she was born 7 pounds 1 ounce and 20 inches long." - Emily Wantz
"Mine is kind of the opposite! My doctor always told me I measured small and was worried Autumn was only going to be 4-5 pounds full term but guess what? She was 7 pounds and 20 inches long!!" - Cassey Crone
"They told me Landon was going to be 8 pounds, he was 7.4. They were estimating Brinleigh to be 7-8 pounds and she was 5.10" - Victoria Parks
At the end of the day, you will birth your baby. No matter how it happens.
And your care providers do have reasons themselves to worry.
Some babies ARE too big to be born vaginally.
You need to make the choices that make you feel confident in your birth plan. Believe in yourself. Be confident.4
At Northern Maryland Doula Services we support you through any emotional and psychical concerns you have. No matter how your birth plan looks, we will support you every step of the way.