9 Pregnancy Myths That Might Surprise You - Myth 8

By Temma Ehrenfeld and Sherry Baker @temmaehrenfeld
November 09, 2017
Nurse Conducting Ultrasound Examination --- Image by © Sean Justice/Corbis

Claim #8: If you have a big baby, you have to have a C-section.


Response: If your abdominal girth seems to be extra huge in your last month or two of pregnancy — or your doctor says an ultrasound shows you are having a larger than average baby — there’s no reason to assume you must have a Cesarean section birth (better known as a C-section).

A C-section birth occurs when a baby is delivered through an incision made in the mom’s abdomen and uterus. Your doctor will not advise a C-section unless there is a clear medical reason. Simply having a big baby is not automatically one of them. Instead, C-sections are performed only when there’s reason to believe the procedure is safer for the mom, the infant, or both.

It’s true some women physically cannot deliver an extremely large baby vaginally. In such cases, a C-section may be required and can be life-saving. But there are many other reasons why a C-section can be needed.

For example, if:

  • The placenta is blocking the cervix.
  • The mom has serious health problems (such as uncontrolled high blood pressure, HIV, or active herpes sores in the vagina or cervix).
  • The pregnancy involves twins or other multiples, and a prolonged labor may put some of the babies at risk.
  • Your labor is not progressing.
  • Your baby shows signs of distress.
  • The placenta may separate from the uterus.

Bottom line: Expecting a big baby doesn’t mean you are slated for a C-section. In fact, the odds are you won’t need one. If your obstetrician does suggest a C-section, ask questions so you understand both the reason and what to expect.

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June 23, 2022

Reviewed By:  

Janet O’Dell, RN