We've all heard about women who were told they needed to consider an artificial induction of labor or even Cesarean surgery, because their babies "looked big" toward the end of pregnancy. Many of these women were unpleasantly surprised when their babies were born at completely average weights, after they'd undergone a drastic intervention in a healthy pregnancy.
The latest article from our brilliant Rebecca Dekker on her site EvidenceBasedBirth.com is "What is the evidence for induction or C-section for a big baby?" She confirms some sad news: 1 in 3 women in the U.S. are being told that their babies are too big, even though weight can't be reliably predicted. Women are NOT being told that procedures such as artificial induction and Cesarean surgery for big babies have not been shown to improve outcomes, and, in fact, may be harmful. Induction for big baby likely increases the C-section rate.
Her article addresses the four "big" assumptions on which this approach is based:
- Big babies are at higher risk for problems.
- We can accurately tell if a baby will be big.
- Induction keeps the baby from getting any bigger, which lowers the risk of C-section.
- Elective C-sections for big baby are beneficial and don’t have any major risks.
In maternity care, treating assumption like fact can have devastating consequences. In this case, we see that the "suspicion" of a big baby is more harmful than an actual big baby!
When it comes to big babies, there is a clear disconnect here between what research says is best and what is commonly practiced all over the country. Please read Rebecca's article and share far and wide.
(The infographics below about "The Myth of the Big Baby" are available for sharing from our Facebook page!)