A common concern among women hoping for VBAC is the baby’s size. We hear again and again how women have been diagnosed with a small pelvis and/or told their babies are just too big.
If you do happen to be carrying a baby on the large size, there are lots of things you can do to get that big guy (or girl) out vaginally!
1. Know the Facts About Macrosomia
There are so many myths out there about big babies! Did you know that the true definition of a “big baby”, or macrosomia, is one that is over 9lbs 14oz?
Babies with macrosomia are at a higher risk of issues like shoulder dystocia, which can prevent you from being able to give birth vaginally. Even plus size birth can be disrupted by macrosomia, and it can be a concern for VBAC with gestational diabetes.
Only 1.7% of babies born in the United States are that big (yet, one in three women with suspected big babies will end up with a c-section)! The best thing you can do to prepare yourself for any unnecessary interventions is know the truth about big babies.
Along with taking a birth class, Evidence Based Birth has a GREAT article with a lot of resources that you can find here. Also, those third trimester ultrasounds are notorious for being off by 1-2 pounds. The only accurate measure of a baby’s size is the post birth weight.
2. Hire a Doula
A skilled doula helps a woman to communicate her needs and perceptions to realize her dream of having a healthy, positive birth experience. Guess what else? Having a doula is shown to reduce your chances of cesarean by 26%!!
A great doula will be able to help you get your baby into a great position, will help you know what positions to labor in that will open your pelvis, and has an eye for when things might be headed towards unnecessary interventions.
Our own doula, Meagan, is well known for getting babies into great positions with her rebozo and other skills. These things are ESPECIALLY helpful when dealing with potential big babies.
3, Move, Move, Move!
The WORST position to labor in, especially when dealing with large or less than optimally positioned babies, is on your back.
This is because being on your back can close your pelvic opening by 30%. There are so many other positions that are great to labor in that will help pen that pelvis nice and wide to allow even a big baby to get through.
4. Ditch the Epidural
Not everyone wants to or can have an unmedicated birth. That is ok!
But, go as long as possible before you get it. Even laboring at home for as long as you can before heading to the hospital, if that is your birth place. Epidurals not only keep you lying down and on your back but, come with many other interventions such as IV, continuous monitoring, bladder catheter etc… which can further complicate things when dealing with a big baby or a baby in a less than optimal position.
There ARE times, of course, when getting an epidural may actually help a woman have a vaginal birth if she is over exhausted or has been laboring for a long time.
It is definitely worth weighing the pros and cons if you get to that point in your labor. (Did I mention how a doula can help you with that choice?)
5. Believe in Your Body
It goes without saying that sometimes there are circumstances where a baby just won’t come out vaginally. However, there is a lot to be said about the power of the mind and a woman’s intuition.
Belief in yourself and your ability to give birth is a huge chunk or the battle. Faith and fear cannot coexist in the same space.
Where there is fear, there is tension and, when you can release that doubt and bring in full confidence amazing things can happen!
Birth is awesome, and messy, and complex, and simple, and plays out in SO MANY different ways. If you can trust the process, trust your mind, and trust your body, you have conquered a large part of the battle.
Want to be fully prepared for your VBAC? Check out our Ultimate VBAC Course for Parents, and learn everything there is to know about vaginal birth after a caesarian.