Shoulder Dystocia Could Be One of the Problems with Very Large Babies

Recently Asher Stewardson made headlines when he was born to Kendall and Joshua Stewardson tipping the scales at a whopping 14 pounds which is twice the weight of a regular new born baby.

Not only is the size of the new born baby such an amazing thing, it is also remarkable that the mother chose to do this the natural way: it was a vaginal delivery with no epidural, only 6 hours of labor and just 6 minutes of pushing!

Shoulder Dystocia

Possible problems with very large babies

Cute as the little fellow may be, Dr Manny Alvarez warns us that new born babies of this size are neither the norm, nor is this desirable. Only one baby in a thousand actually weighs more than 11 pounds. While large babies do run in the family very often, it is gestational diabetes that makes new born babies overweight. Even the ultrasound reveals that the baby is large for gestational age and that there are more fat deposits about the stomach.

The importance of monitoring fetal weight with sonograms as well as glucose testing of the mother is stressed here because of dangers to the baby such as electrolyte abnormalities as well as birth trauma.

Shoulder Dystocia can be a problem with very large babies

Though baby Asher Stewardson suffered no problems and both mother and baby had a relatively easy time of it, there could be the chance of birth trauma such as shoulder dystocia when very large babies are delivered vaginally.

This problem occurs when the head is through but the baby’s shoulder remains trapped beneath the mother’s pelvic bone. Potentially severe consequences such as cerebral palsy and nerve dysfunction could result from shoulder dystocia.

Several labor positions and obstetric maneuvers will typically be required to try and deliver the baby. Sometimes drastic action may have to be taken by pushing the baby’s head back in and performing a C section or performing an intentional claviclar fracture to reduce the shoulder girdle’s diameter so that the baby can pass through the birth canal.

Dr Alvarez has two pieces of advice for expectant mothers following the Asher Stewardson birth: firstly he urges pregnant women to follow a healthy pregnancy diet so that complications such as gestational diabetes can be avoided and so that babies do not become abnormally large. He also advises women to heed the advice of their obstetrician and gynecologist in terms of birthing options; particularly if they advise against a vaginal delivery of a very large baby.


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