Natural Birth

Plus Sized and Natural Birth?

I have a very good friend who recently found out she is pregnant, and she is interested in natural birth. However, her doctor is discouraging her (surprise, surprise), and citing her weight as the reason. He told her something like, "Your weight is going to cause fatigue during labor and you'll not make it through without medication."  Even though she's early in pregnancy, she doesn't appear to have any unique issues or risk factors (like GD, hypertension, etc.) that would otherwise prevent her from pursuing this route. She's going to meet with my doula soon, and doing some more research. Any resources you guys can suggest?

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Re: Plus Sized and Natural Birth?

  • The doula is great. I tell my clients of any size about safe exercises during pregnancy that help you stay fit for labor. Starting earlier is better than later, and it isn't about the gym. Certain yoga, sitting, and walking, and other exercises that help prepare your legs but also your stamina and help you relax during movement. Bellydancing is very good, too. Spinning babies has exercises. There are thin women who are not physically prepared, so, to me it has little to do with size. I also advise every client about healthy eating choices quality of food.
  • The only advice I have is for her to have confidence in herself and in her body and to keep her weight gain to a minimum during the pregnancy. Plus sized women have natural births all the time (and it's funny that her doctor told her she would be too tired because I do not know a single woman, overweight or no, that was NOT tired by the time they were done). I was a size 18 when I had my son and I had a perfectly normal and healthy pregnancy and birthing. In fact my blood sugar and blood pressure were better during pregnancy than they have been in my adult life. Being overweight does increase your chances for complications but it does not automatically mean she can not have the birth she wants.
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  • I'm about 40 lbs over what I would consider a good healthy weight for my size and am a size 18 and I had a completely natural VBAC last May.  It is important for her to find a doctor who will not get all worked up over her size.  I would also advise looking into a water birth as I felt that that gave me the ability to move around and get into better positions for laboring and pushing than I would have been able to manage out of the water.  My doctor also recommended that I try to keep my pregnancy weight gain on the lower end and I gained around 20 lbs which he felt was good.  There is a really good blog about plus sized women and childbirth that she should check out too - I believe it is called "the well-rounded mama" or something like that.
  • When you had your son, did you have him at a hospital with a Dr. or a midwife?  I had my daughter at a hospital with a midwife and it was a regular unnatural birth experience.  The opposite of my birth plan, the opposite of what the midwife touted as her practice... I'm just 4 weeks along with my second baby and I am trying to decide what to do.  I want a homebirth because I'm afraid if I go to a hospital again, I'll have yet another horrible birth story to tell.  (I am plus sized).  Looking for information and a confidence boost from Mom's who've done it natural with sucess.
  • Sounds like she should consider switching doctors too . . . if he's not supportive of her natural plans, it will likely be an uphill battle on that front.
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  • image elle_bee:
    Sounds like she should consider switching doctors too . . . if he's not supportive of her natural plans, it will likely be an uphill battle on that front.

    Funny enough she is with a practice out of the same hospital that I recently fired. I don't know what her comfort level is with switching, but she has been asking me a lot of questions about my switch, so that is a distinct possibility.


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  • Thanks everyone for your feedback so far. Since we're both pregnant ladies we talk all the time about stuff, and since I'm further along than her she asks me tons of questions. I'll be sure to go over some of this with her next time we speak.

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  • I am a size 20 PP, and my Dr did my pelvic check and said unless I give birth to an elephant, I should have no issues birthing the way I want. Find a new Dr.
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  • I am a size 18 and have given birth naturally twice at home.  My first labor was 40 hours long and I was fine.   Bigger size does not always = unhealthy.  

    Tell her to fire that Dr. ASAP and find someone else.  

     


    Lilypie - (ZESJ)Lilypie - (QAi1)

  • I was about 184 lbs when I gave birth. Not as big as I once was (my highest measured weight was 254) but definitely within the obese BMI. I had to be induced, but otherwise gave birth without intervention, no pain meds, etc. The induction took three days, and I was in hard labor from 9 a.m. the last day until delivery at 5:30 p.m., with transition lasting somewhere btwn 90 minutes and 2 hours. 

    Weight has very little to do with it. In fact, not a single person brought up my weight as an issue against having natural birth. It MIGHT have been an issue for caesarian section.

    I would suggest she work on stamina (long walks, lots and lots of long walks) and flexibility (pregnancy yoga would be good). If she's otherwise healthy, excess adipose tissue should not get in the way of her having natural childbirth. 

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  • I'm 275 lb 5'6" this puts me at obese for my height though I'm in excellent health. 

    MY doctor told me that a natural birth is fine, but he encouraged me to research the amount of pain I will go through because many women underestimate labor pain. 

    https://www.facebook.com/plussizemommymemoirs?fref=ts

    www.plussizebirth.com

    these two sites (run by the same person) will help her find stories on it, and is a very encouraging spot for plus size pregnancy. 

     

    And if she can, she needs to check a new doctor because he seems to be under the impression that heavy cannot be healthy.  

    Eat your food people. You are pregnant, not made of glass. ~PrimRoseMama
    The Benes Boys were born 9/3/13! woooo
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  • Also, my Mom was 300 lbs when she got pregnant with my sister, who was born completely med free. there is nothing about her size that will affect it. 
    Eat your food people. You are pregnant, not made of glass. ~PrimRoseMama
    The Benes Boys were born 9/3/13! woooo
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  • Just another post agreeing with everyone else. I'm also an 18 pre pregnancy. I just had my second natural birth. Neither my OB with LO1 nor the MW with LO2 ever mentioned anything but changes in weight. I have been told by 3 OBs that my pelvis has plenty of room. My size did not hinder me at all.

    As everyone said, being fit is important. I really liked prenatal yoga because it showed me my body's flexibility even at the end of pregnancy when I felt like a giant whale. Knowing what positions I could get into instead of feeling stuck on the bed helps tremendously. And remember that there are breaks between contractions to rest up. It's not a timed marathon where you can't stop moving.
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  • image elle_bee:
    Sounds like she should consider switching doctors too . . . if he's not supportive of her natural plans, it will likely be an uphill battle on that front.

    This.  Absolutely this.  And thank goodness she has a doula, because this scenario is exactly what can make them so valuable.

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    TTC since Aug 2011. BFP #1 on 10/28/2011 EDD of 07/02/2012 Natural MC on 11/22/2012  BFP #2 on 10/28/2012  EDD of 7/13/13  Judah Ari born on 7/11/13.

    I love my rainbow baby!


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