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Pregnant Women with ‘Large’ Babies More Likely to Schedule C-Sections

The risks of delivery by cesarean section are well published; babies who are born by c-section rather than vaginally may be at a higher risk for asthma and breathing disorders, diabetes, allergies, metabolic disorders, obesity, and immune disorders. And so it makes sense that when a woman gets pregnant, she may plan to have her baby naturally.

A problem, however, is presented when women are told by their doctors that their babies will be larger-than-normal, potentially presenting complications, including increased levels of pain, during the birthing process. Knowledge that a baby will be large is usually followed up by a recommendation from a doctor that the woman should schedule a c-section, rather than attempt a natural birth. However, all of these ‘large’ babies aren’t so large – studies show that fewer than eight percent of babies born in the U.S. meet criteria necessary to be classified as large babies.

Large Babies in the United States

The medical definition of a large baby is one that is greater than eight pounds, 13 ounces, or 4,000 grams. Babies of this size are not common; as stated above, less than eight percent of babies born are of this size or greater. Despite that fact, nearly one-third of all babies born in the United States are born via c-section, many times because their mothers are told that the babies will be large.

Medical Interventions for Large Babies

Being incorrectly told that a baby will be large is common. In a study recently published by Childbirth Connection, four out of five mothers who were told that their babies would be large gave birth to normal-sized babies. However, despite the fact that the majority of the babies were of normal weight, women who were told that their babies were larger-than-normal were nearly two times as likely to seek medical interventions, such as medically-induced labor and planned cesarean sections.

An article published in The New York Times highlights the fact that many women who are told by their doctors that they will give birth to large babies feel pressured into c-sections, and some may even be told that by not choosing a c-section, they are putting their child at undue risk of harm and long-term impairment. While giving birth vaginally to a baby who is large does pose complications, most women give birth to babies of perfectly average size.

Medical Malpractice & Cesarean Sections

The weight of a baby during gestation is usually determined by taking measurements of the uterus from the pubic bone to the top of the belly. Ultrasounds are also often used. However, as is clear from the statistics above, it is very common for these methods to be inaccurate; the correct weight of a baby is often unknown until the baby is born.

If you feel as though you are pressured into a cesarean section based on a fetal weight that is incorrect, and if your child suffers harm as a result, you may have a case for damages. To learn more about medical malpractice, reach out to the experienced New Jersey and Pennsylvania malpractice lawyers at the law firm of Cohen, Placitella & Roth, P.C.  Call us today to schedule your free case consultation at (215) 567-3500.


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