Should large babies be delivered vaginally, or by C-section?

Some women are adamant about not receiving a C-section, preferring to deliver a baby naturally if they can. While many women have successfully delivered large babies vaginally, there are a number of reasons doctors recommend C-sections for larger infants.

In many cases, a C-section depends not just on the size of the baby, but the size of the mother. If a woman with a small frame is carrying a baby above average size, the baby’s head may be too large to fit through the mother’s pelvic inlet. If the mother’s coccyx is angled too far forward (common in smaller women), the narrow opening may make it impossible for the baby to drop into the pelvis. Many times this makes a cesarean section the only viable option.

You may be wondering how small women can become pregnant with infants too large for delivery. The simple answer is that a woman’s size is determined by her genes, but her baby’s size is determined by the mother’s and her partner’s genes. If a large baby develops as a result of genetic conditions, the baby cannot change its size to fit within the confines of the mother’s womb.

There has been speculation that some C-sections are not absolutely necessary and are used to allow hospitals to “hurry up” a delivery, making many women wary of C-sections in response. One of the biggest arguments is that vaginal delivery can contribute to shoulder dystocia in large babies. Your doctor may recommend a cesarean section if your infant is too large for your pelvic structure because vaginal delivery may risk future health complications.

Please feel free to share this information with the mother-to-be in your life, or click any of the related links on the page to read more about potential birth complications.