Petite moms- too small for vaginal delivery? — The Bump
3rd Trimester

Petite moms- too small for vaginal delivery?

Was anyone told they’re too small or hips were too narrow to deliver vaginally and recommended to get a C section??
I feel this may be the case for me and am hoping my OB offers the C section. I know that’s not the popular thing to say but my body my choice right?

Re: Petite moms- too small for vaginal delivery?

  • You might want to consider your postpartum experience in addition to your birth experience.
        
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  • Was anyone told they’re too small or hips were too narrow to deliver vaginally and recommended to get a C section??
    I feel this may be the case for me and am hoping my OB offers the C section. I know that’s not the popular thing to say but my body my choice right?

    You are well within your rights to request a Csection. I would talk it over with your doctor for sure. You also will want to discuss the number of kids and the age spacing you want, as multiple Csections, especially in fairly rapid succession, can lead to issues with later pregnancies.

    With that said, most babies do not grow larger than the women that will be birthing them.
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  • The most petite woman are able to give birth vaginally, size does not necessarily mean you cant give birth.  Honestly, I would do anything to avoid C-section.  
    Those with wide hips sometimes are unable to give birth vaginally.  All situations are different. 
  • I'm 5'9 and have to request the largest speculum available when I go to the OB because my vagina is long and deep. Despite my build I almost needed a c-section to deliver my first son, and he was only 6.5 pounds. The doctor had a gurney next to my bed to whisk me to the OR within minutes. The thought of someone cutting into my stomach was enough to force out the final push that birthed him.
    I'm having twins now and - though I'm not super excited about the prospect - realize I'll likely need a c-section. Just be prepared for the recovery. Some women have it easier than others. A friend of mine is 4'11 and weighs 90 pounds and she needed a c-section for both her babies. It all just depends... but do your research first and then decide what's best.
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  • Thank you for all the insight! I do realize I’m not the most educated person on the subject. I obviously want to discuss it with my doctor and take her recommendations to heart, but at the same time I want to know that the final decision about how I birth my child is mine!
    Its still early and I have a lot to learn, but the risk of a 3rd degree tear or broken pelvis is not worth it to me. The C section just sounds much more controlled and way less dramatic.
    I know lots of women who have had C sections (some multiple) and they didn’t seem to think it was a big deal at all. More importantly, wouldn’t it be better to have a planned C section than be forced to try a vaginal birth only to then end up with an emergency C section anyway?
  • You might also want to make sure your insurance covers elective Csections without a medical cause. Idk if that is a thing, but I can imagine it being a weird loophole insurance companies use to get out of paying for more expensive deliveries.
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  • harpseal135harpseal135
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    edited February 21
    meggyme said:
    You might also want to make sure your insurance covers elective Csections without a medical cause. Idk if that is a thing, but I can imagine it being a weird loophole insurance companies use to get out of paying for more expensive deliveries.
    Absolutely this:  elective C-section was considered elective according to my friend's insurance (deemed medically unnecessary, and no doctor indication of need).  She didn't check, doctor's office didn't check prior to.   They were charged for the surgery - it was medically unnecessary, according to their insurance.  Ended up opting the cost of the surgery and anesthetic part if it.  
    kiki75
  • It is your body and your choice, but I don't think you're fully thinking through the risks. A c-section is major surgery. It's not something little and no big deal. Yes, sometimes they are necessary when things go wrong, but you can't forget that it's a major abdominal surgery with all the risks that go along with that.o http://americanpregnancy.org/labor-and-birth/cesarean-risks/

    As a PP pointed out, this could affect your family size. It's basically up to doctor recommendation, but my understanding is that typically doctors don't want you to have more than four, and depending on how well you healed or various other factors, they may want you to stop at three. Maybe you only want one or two or three children, but it's still a limit placed on how many you can have.

    Who told you your body may be too small for a vaginal delivery? Did your doctor tell you this?

    The vast majority of women can vaginally deliver their baby. And of women who supposedly can't and receive an actual diagnosis of cephalopelvic disproportion, most of them go on to later vaginally deliver a baby. CPD is overdiagnosed and often wrongly diagnosed, according to the American Pregnancy Association. Winding up with an emergency c-section does not necessarily mean your body was unable to physically accommodate a baby. http://americanpregnancy.org/labor-and-birth/cephalopelvic-disproportion/

    I did tear with my first, a second degree tear. It's confusing to me why you're concerned about a third degree tear, but you're not concerned about voluntarily and perhaps unnecessarily having a major incision into your body and organ? It's still stitches and healing and all that. As far as a broken pelvis, where are you getting that concern coming from? I've never heard of childbirth breaking your pelvis, and my googling is turning up nothing. 

    I think you really should do some research on the risks of a CS before choosing that. Yes, you could always wind up with one, but personally, I would never ever voluntarily choose surgery over a vaginal birth, especially for something like CPD, which is rare and difficult to diagnose before actually attempting a delivery. 

    As far as your question about wouldn't it be better to plan a CS then attempt a vaginal and wind up with an emergency CS, no, I don't think so. You're assuming you will end up with a CS regardless of what you choose when that's not necessarily the case. Again, I really would like to know why you think you can't vaginally deliver your baby? If a doctor told you this, I'd be a little skeptical and want a second opinion. Yes, it's possible, but it's pretty unlikely as the second link I posted above shows. 

    I'd take a 32% chance (or less if you're otherwise low risk) of major abdominal surgery over a 100% chance any day. 
    kiki75BuckeyeNut05wabash15Junebugmugalug
  • ^^^This. I’d take my recovering from a second degree tear forward and back while caring for a newborn over recovering from an abdominal surgery while caring for a newborn any day. I’m not sure people realize how much they use their abs all day every day, especially when lifting. 
        
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  • daffodil_shoedaffodil_shoe
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    edited February 25
    I’m 4’10” and have basically no hips. My son was over 8.5 lbs and he came out my vagina just fine. Had a 2nd degree tear, which is what most women experience during their first vaginal delivery. I work in a birthing center, so believe me when I say that a 2nd degree tear is an absolute cakewalk compared to a csection recovery.

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  • While I don't actively participate on this board, I would back what others say about doing the research and making the best decision. From someone who had a (somewhat) elective c-section with my first pregnancy due to it being twins, I can tell you that I GREATLY underestimated the recovery and it was awful. If given the choice over again, given what I know now, I would have made a very different decision.

    Best of luck with whatever you decide. 
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  • I had to have laparoscopic surgery years ago to remove an ovarian cyst.  The recovery was more painful than any of my 3 vaginal births (one of which was for a sunny side up baby, and another for a 9 pounder), even though they only cut tiny little incisions into my abdominal region.  I cannot imagine opting for a CS recovery, especially combined with the uterine contractions accompanying breastfeeding.  Shudder.

    I mean if you medically need a CS with your first, of course do it.  And I don't at all judge someone opting for a RCS once they've had one.  But I cannot imagine opting for a CS for no medical reason with a first child.  It is major abdominal surgery, and recovery is not preferable to a small (or even large in most cases) vaginal tear in my opinion.
     
    FWIW I am 5'3" and 130lbs.  Had zero issues  birthing vaginally.  I have friends smaller than myself who did the same.  Please talk this through with your doctor at your next appointment.
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  • delujm0 said:
    I had to have laparoscopic surgery years ago to remove an ovarian cyst.  The recovery was more painful than any of my 3 vaginal births (one of which was for a sunny side up baby, and another for a 9 pounder), even though they only cut tiny little incisions into my abdominal region.  I cannot imagine opting for a CS recovery, especially combined with the uterine contractions accompanying breastfeeding.  Shudder.

    I mean if you medically need a CS with your first, of course do it.  And I don't at all judge someone opting for a RCS once they've had one.  But I cannot imagine opting for a CS for no medical reason with a first child.  It is major abdominal surgery, and recovery is not preferable to a small (or even large in most cases) vaginal tear in my opinion.
     
    FWIW I am 5'3" and 130lbs.  Had zero issues  birthing vaginally.  I have friends smaller than myself who did the same.  Please talk this through with your doctor at your next appointment.
    I had an emergency laparotomy due to ruptured cyst that left my belly filled with blood.
    I would take my 3rd degree tear from pushing baby out over the laparotomy incision any day!
    wabash15delujm0lovesclimbing
  • Also, most vaginal tears are generally pretty shallow, where as a CS obviously goes through multiple layers of muscle tissue, and big muscles at that.
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  • I feel like I should also point out here that I do have one friend who was physically unable to push out her first child.  He was about 8.5lbs, and she is 5'9" and has never worn smaller than a size 10 pant.  No one would have looked at her and thought "there's no way your hips could possibly evacuate an average sized baby" and yet it was true.  in MOST cases, you can't tell that someone isn't physically able to give birth vaginally just by looking at them.  It's internal bone/muscle structure that would be the problem.  I also have a friend that is MAYBE 5'0" and 105lbs that pushed out an 8.5lb baby with minimal tearing.  So honestly...this is a non-issue, please discuss with your doctor.  It is one thing to think you'd prefer a CS (I have no idea why you would, but you do you), however it is EXTREMELY unlikely that you would truly need one simply because you are too small physically.
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  • I had a 3rd degree tear with my daughter. The recovery was honestly not that bad compared to laboring contractions. Tears do not have anything to do with size of a person. I have had larger women in my office that had 3rd degree tears, while petite tiny women had 1st degree. It's just how your body is made which isn't judged by your external looks.

    Many people have already said it but C-sections are not a joke, and that's why most practitioners do not do them unless there is something VERY WRONG. It is elective if you ask for it otherwise and can end up with a very large medical bill. C-sections can also have many complications afterwards including higher risk of infection, not properly closing, endometritis, hemorrhage. 


    It's crazy you are willing to have such a high risk surgery with a laundry list of complications that could result in your death, but want to avoid a possible tear.
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  • This post has been quiet for a couple weeks but wanted to add in case it’s still pertinent that I am petite (5’3” and small boned) and that I delivered a 10 lb baby vaginally with no problem and he didn’t get stuck either. Your body can do amazing things and you may not need to a c-section. I would avoid it if you can for the reasons stated above. I had been worried that I would be too petite to have a baby vaginally but I’ve had 2 including the 10 pounder and I’m about to deliver my third any day. Best of luck, Mama 🙂

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  • OP may have had her baby by now. But for any lurkers, I had a stage 4 tear and honestly with staying very on top of things from a preventative standpoint my recovery was NBD. I made sure to keep my stitches very clean, did lots of ice packs, tucks pads,  Epi-foam, twice a day Aleve and aggressive stool softeners. There is so much bending and twisting with a newborn that I cannot imagine having to deal with an abdominal incision unless I had no other choice. 
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