Thursday, March 12, 2009

Fat Women can VBAC

As a nice antidote to all the depressing VBAC news lately, here is the lovely story of a friend of mine, a woman of size, who just had her second VBAC a couple of weeks ago.

Nice to get some good news in the midst of all the doom and gloom stuff on how hard VBAC is to get anymore!

Because VBAC is so hard to get in the hospital these days (and particularly so for women of size) a lot of women are birthing outside the hospital in order to get a real shot at a VBAC. Of course, like anything else, this has its pros and cons, risks and benefits.....but so does birthing inside the hospital.

This mom chose to birth at home with a midwife in attendance. She gave birth in the water. Her other children were nearby, and her husband helped catch the baby. (Those are his hands you see in the picture.)

She wanted me to be sure to pass on that by many doctors' estimates, she'd "never" be able to VBAC....and yet she did.

She is a woman of size (about 250 lbs. pre-pregnancy), and some doctors won't let women of that size even have a trial of labor. Others will "let" you, but will try to convince you that your chances of success are very small because of your size, so best to just sign up for that repeat cesarean. Yet somehow, she managed to VBAC.

She is short and she had a big baby this time. She specifically wanted me to mention that, because the combination of short and fat and a big baby often will make doctors risk you out of a VBAC. And yet, somehow she managed to VBAC anyhow. (So did I, another short fat woman with big babies!)

She was told her pelvis was too small with her first baby (who was only 6 lbs., 14 oz), but both her VBAC babies were bigger than her cesarean baby. Somehow she managed to VBAC an 8 lbs., 3 oz. baby out of that "too small" pelvis, and this baby was even bigger at 9 lbs. 8 oz. So much for her small "deformed" pelvis.

Obviously, there are things that are more important than maternal size or baby size; fetal position is a critical part of the whole story. If the baby is in a poor position, even a small baby can have trouble getting through. If the baby is in great position, even big babies usually get through just fine. More on that in a future post!

For now, let's just savor the fact that despite a VBAC ban in half the US hospitals, despite the tremendous bias against fat women even trying for a VBAC, despite all the factors "working against" her in many docs' eyes.....she managed to VBAC.......and not once but TWICE.


You can read her complete story on her blog, In the meantime, here are some pictures and links to her stories. Enjoy!

Her cesarean story can be found here.

Her first VBAC story (a hospital transfer to a hospital......which banned VBACs no less!) can be found here.

Pictures of her second VBAC can be found here.


MigiziNse-ikwe said...

In my town a midwife wont let you try VBAC at home because of the 'risks'. I had my first child in the hospital and had a c-section due to poor positioning and I'm hoping if/when the hubby and I decide to have #2 I'll have a VBAC at my hospital. It's not so bad here in Canada for women who want to try it.

Brigid Keely said...

I must be insanely lucky because I am short and very fat (306 lbs before pregnancy) and none of the doctors I've seen have even mentioned Cesarean. I've mentioned it and they dismiss it as possible, but not probable given my overall health.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this great story! I'll look forward to your future post on positioning too.

Anonymous said...

Lovely photos, and it is good to hear good vbac news.

Congrats to your friend!

I had two vbacs at home, I'm fat and I have a photo of me, my new son and my daughter that looks so much like the one you posted. Sweet memories.

Smurfy said...

Beautiful story! I'm also a woman of size (roughly 270 right now), and I had a VBAC about 10 months ago, in a freestanding birth center with a midwife attending.

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful, positive story!! Stumbled onto here from your website/google. I have been trying to conceive via IVF and kinda pissed off that before my next transfer I've only managed to lose a couple of kilos, I'm about a 108 kilos now, at 5 feet 8in in height. I have horrible belly fat and always feel so guilty. Its a no-win sitch because I have PCOS, I've had miscarriages and a stillbirth and the guilt is getting to me, even though I'm on medication that bloats me up (prednisone) ... hearing positive stories such as this is fantastic to me! thanks!

Anonymous said...

I was about 280 lbs when I had my hospital VBAC in February. I had gestational diabetes and was on insulin. I had a very straightforward labor and birth a 8 lb 11 oz baby. It really pisses me off that many providers wouldn't have given me a chance. Undoubtedly the VBAC was better for me and the baby.

Anita said...

I am very glad I found this page. This is very encouraging.