Wednesday, July 28, 2010

You will probably just die anyway

The things some doctors tell women of size about pregnancy are just appalling. 

Scaring fat women about dying in pregnancy seems to be the latest scare tactic to keep fat women from even contemplating reproducing.

Here's yet another example from My OB Said What??!!

“If you get pregnant, you will get gestational diabetes, have high blood pressure, and oh, you will probably just die anyway.”

-Gynecologist to a young, obese woman who was not pregnant at the time of the gyn exam
It's amazing how all this fatness keeps getting passed down over the generations since all us fat moms die during pregnancy, you know? 

What kind of ridiculous things have you had said to you about pregnancy at larger sizes?


Unknown said...

I won't be able to have an abdominal sonogram until after 20 weeks. I wear a size 20... When I was 17 and wore a size 16/18 I got an abdominal sonogram at 8 weeks. IDK why they keep telling me this and it makes me feel horrible.

Stacy said...

I'm currently pregnant with my 4th. This is the first pregnancy I started out plus sized. At one of my first visits my (also plus sized!) family practice doctor mentioned I should ONLY gain 10-15 pounds.

Then at the next appointment, where I had lost 4lbs due to morning sickness she commented that I shouldn't be loosing weight.

Next appointment (month later) I gained 2lbs back, and she asked me if I was exercising.

I'm about ready to ditch her, I'm planning a homebirth anyway and just hired my midwives, so I don't need the family practice doc anymore.

I'm on a couple web groups and also hearing a lot of GD "worries" in plus sized women, especially the whole fasting thing. I didn't do the glucose screen with my last (also under midwife care) and I'll be refusing this one too.

Thanks for your blog, I found your website with my last child, when I developed pubic symphysis, and was in tons of pain. I'm hoping I'll get lucky this time around, but at 17 weeks, the bone is feeling sore and bruised already. I forsee lots of hot rice packs in my future!

Kristin said...

My last OB told me that I needed to lose 50 lbs during my pregnancy or else she was sure I'd need a c section and then a hysterectomy. I gained 4 lbs total, and my baby was 8lbs 6 oz.

I will never see that doctor again. I refused to go to my 6 week check up because of some of the nonsense that went on during my labor/delivery.

Anonymous said...

*That I must have so much fat inside my vagina that I would not be able to give birth without forceps or more drastic interventions.

*That I was pregnant now, when I hadn't gotten pregnant before, because I had dieted off about 8 percent of my body weight in the interim.

*That my blood pressure would shoot up in the midst of labor (despite having been perfectly normal all through my pregnancy) and I would die without IV drugs.

Now, with my kids around me and the bed they were born in just a few steps away, I can laugh about it. Then, not so much.

Jenny Islander

My OB Said WHAT?!? said...

Thanks for the ping back! Women of all sizes get so much crap flung a them! But we agree, large size women seem to be fair game to lob false statements to at a higher rate than normal! thank you for all you do to even the playing field by providing evidence based information to women of all sizes!

erica said...

I can't believe they'd treat another human being like that. That poor girl...

That degree you hang in your office, that piece of paper you hold onto that gives you the knowledge to treat and help other human's useless if your bigotry prevents you from treating and helping another human being. And you should consider a career switch. Media journalist would be a wonderful fit. Seriously.

I can remember my grandmother, who was native american, talking about the mds who always advised extreme birth-control, sterilization even. They were treated like they were too stupid, and had no right to bear children. Sound familiar?

zanjabil said...

After my first pregnancy (I have 4 boys) I was in plus size. Every doctor I had kept pressing me out about my weight keeping it under control, that is. They were all concerned about my BP,Gestational diabetes, etc. Never had problems with either. That is so horrible what they say. Why can't they focus on health and wellness instead of size?

Unknown said...

My MIDWIFE told me that she couldn't feel my baby through all of my fat. Which is funny, because she would barely touch me. Her doppler couldn't find the heart rate because I was too fat too. Once she dropped me from her care, I interviewed several other midwives, all of which could feel the baby AND find the heartbeat.

Lexi said...

I was mostly able to avoid the scare tactics, thankfully, but during my cesarean, after my husband left with the baby, someone said "We should just do some liposuction while we're in here."

Angela said...

Thankfully the worst I got was a Nurse Practitioner saying that I have to take the GD test early in my pregnancy because I am "bigger".. Which I didn't take offense to but I passed it at 11 weeks preggo and they wanted me to take it again at 26 weeks because of my weight. I declined and I didn't develop GD or high blood pressure. My blood pressure was pretty low actually.
I weighed 303lbs the day before I delivered and I had no complications!! NONE! I now weigh 261lbs and it's only been 6 weeks after giving birth. :)

MB said...

I had an OB tell me (over the phone) that I wasn't "really" pregnant, since my BMI was too high for me to actually be pregnant. Her office then told me that they'd be happy to schedule me for a biopsy to determine what kind of tumor I had. I replied "The kind with two arms, two legs and a head." and hung up. I was so angry. (I was 28-ish weeks pregnant and had a number of ultrasounds under my belt.)

I've got a ton of horror stories. I moved to the SF Bay Area from Seattle when I was 28 weeks pregnant and spent hours on the phone looking for a doctor that wouldn't counsel immediate termination ("You or the baby will die, you are just too fat to carry to term."), "necessary" c-section ("Women of your size never have a natural labor. You will have to have a c-section.") or were anti-VBAC - that's right, this fatty has TWO babies ("Women with your BMI can't VBAC in our hospital. You won't find a better hospital in the area.")

I wound up with a doctor that said she was comfortable VBACing who decided at 38 weeks that I needed an "emergency" c-section and called me in the middle of my grocery shopping about me "dying before the weekend was out" and generally pressured me into yet another c-section. Now I'm being told (by any doctor I can find) that a VBA2C is "impossible" at my size/BMI or at all.

(Wow that turned out a longer comment than I intended.)

The Deranged Housewife said...

I've heard a bipolar woman that I know make a similar comment. She really wanted to have children, but her OB told her "it wouldn't be a good idea." Hence, the woman is childless, and I don't doubt that she's a bit regretful because of it.

I think this is another form of population control - as if to say, "We only want perfect-looking people reproducing; ones that aren't fat or crazy."

Anonymous said...

I have an ongoing battle with my sonographer at the moment. She never actually says things to my face but leaves comments on my notes relating to my size.
"scan very (underlined) difficult to carry out to mothers size., Sometime shse tries to use medical terms relating to my size becuase she thinks I won't understand them. I have had scans conducted by 3 other sonographers during this with no problem, she is the only one who seems to have an issue with it.
I cannot change my sonographer as she is the only one availabel at the hospital I have to use at my appointments.

Bri said...

I was told during my second pregnancy (I was about 6 weeks in) that I would have to have a c-section because I am fat. No ifs or buts, I simply would have to. I ended up having a straightforward natural (2 hour)labour and delivery and without any mention of a c-section.

Regina T said...

I was told by my OB at the first office visit (8 weeks) that I needed to lose 15-20 lbs. When I asked if this would be harmful to the baby, I was told that I could safely LOSE weight during pregnancy and it would have no effect on my baby because I had so much "reserves" the baby could survive from that. Luckily I knew that was BS and ate normally to sustain my energy, stamina, and that of my baby. When he balked about my weight at every subsequent visit, I flat out told him that I KNOW how unstable I feel during dieting, and there's nothing he could say to convince me that would be healthy for my baby, he shut up.

When he found a fibroid the size of an orange occupying the same womb my baby was growing in, I had to see the OB "specialist" for all my ultrasounds. This OB told me that he wasn't doing anything more than the doctor could do in his own office with a vaginal ultrasound wand, but at three times the cost.

Finally, on the day of induced delivery, my doctor (who had been cautioning me that I would "most likely" need a C-section because of my size) was afraid to break my water as I neared full dilation and effacement and called in the OB specialist again to perform the procedure. My doctor actually left the room during this procedure to scrub in and ensure there was an operating room available to do an emergency C-section. When the specialist was finished and labor progressed normally, my doctor was shocked. Within three hours, my 9lbs 1oz baby girl was born and proceeded to pee all over the doctor. Instant Karma.....gotta love it.

Rachael said...

I was told at the beginning of my pregnancy not to gain any weight AT ALL. And in fact to lose weight. When I asked why, he told me because otherwise, I was being selfish and putting my baby at risk.

Thing is, I was stuck with him because I had no insurance at the time and the delivery (emergency c-section that I HAD to have) still gives me nightmares.

Anonymous said...

I am pregnant with identical twin girls. I went to the perinatologist and he lectured me for 20 minutes. Telling me I was going to have GD and high blood pressure, and that I needed to lose 20 pounds during this pregnancy. His technician does the ultrasounds every three weeks and always asks me how much I weigh and yells at me if I move telling me "this is hard enough as it is". I stick this out because I have to. My OB is supportive, even allowing a vbac if I go into labor naturally. I have to take the good with the bad!

Anonymous said...

I was a virgin at my second gynecological exam requesting birth control for the first time and the doctor told me I needed to lose weight if I ever wanted to get pregnant. She said she would not "let me" get pregnant at my weight and that it would be too difficult for me to carry a child at my weight.

I changed doctors when I found out I was pregnant a year later while on the Progestin-only birth control pill she prescribed me (I did research and that pill has a way lower rate of working on bigger women... - she never mentioned that). I was actually in fear that she would suggest an abortion or something drastic because she was so adamant that I not get pregnant at my weight. I think she thought I wasn't going to be having sex anyway at my weight or something like that. I weighed about 290.

I am now 38 weeks pregnant at 305 pounds and the baby and I are doing great. No GD, no high blood pressure. We've been fine. Looking forward to a healthy baby later this month.

Ceri said...

What a load of rubbish! I'm a UK 24 and I've always felt my babies early! The first was 12 weeks (straight after my scan), and the next two were 10 weeks. I'm now pregnant again and waiting to feel those first flutters.
Larger women are definitely treated like second class citizens - I've actually put off going to the doctor until I'm nearing 12 weeks because I just can't be bothered with the negativity.

Mrs. Gamgee said...

First off, thank you so much for your blog! I found it recently, and I can't stop reading.

In my first pregnancy, at 11 wks I started spotting heavily, and my GP sent me for an u/s to see what was happening. I ended up in the imaging department at our local hospital with a sonographer who was visibly put out with having to take care of me. At one point she told me to 'hold all that fat out of the way' so she could do her job, and how she wasn't sure she would be able to 'see anything through all the fat'. Not only was I beyond stressed over the possibilitiy of losing that pregnancy (which I did, sadly), but that 'professional' made me feel awful.

I am now on my third pregnancy (we ended up with two losses before we got one that stuck) and I am 23 wks. So far the only complication has been my blood pressure, but that was pre-existing, and has been controlled with diet and extreme low dose meds. I have been blessed this time around with great sonographers, and my ob who has been wonderfully encouraging and supportive.

Anonymous said...

Some OB/GYN's are so insensitive. I've experienced the same bias. As an obese women with mild cerebral palsy I was told that I was selfish to even want to have a baby. She questioned how I would physically care for a baby especially after I had a difficult pregnancy dealing with gestational diabetes, possible preeclampsia, etc. She also told me that I would most likely require a cane to walk around. Needless to say I switch doctors after asking my friend of substance for a recommendation. My husband I are going start trying this month. Wish me luck. XOXOXO

LisaL said...

Good lord, reading all of these stories just makes me sick to my stomach.
That professionals in the business of caring for other people would say things like that is just disgusting.
If that ever happened to me, I'm not a confrontational person, but I would blow up in their face.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this post, I am size 22 and 10 weeks pregnant about to go for the first U/S in a couple days. I am really hoping this doctor will not put me through some of this crap.
My dear friend, who is thin and looks younger than she is got treated horribly by her OB GYN and staff. When she didn't break down crying after hearing the heartbeat (she was elated and smiling, but nor in tears) the technician said she mustn't have really wanted the baby since most people cry (for the record, she was long married and really wanted this kid). They also insisted on giving her STD tests at every visit, even though she stressed she was happily married every time.
So I think I should expect across the board ignorance.