In 2014, Andrea Schrimp, 38, from California gave birth to her daughter Viviane Bliss: an 11 pound, 10 ounce whopper. "She was less painful than my other births," she tells Broadly. "It was actually like a storybook labor. I was having contractions, put my son to bed, had dinner downtown, got into the birthing tub and she was born two hours later."
Annabel*, 27, from New Jersey is currently pregnant with her third child, but is terrified about the prospect of having an extremely large baby. "I had antepartum depression through my last pregnancy and my OB/GYN was negligent from the beginning." Annabel also had a history of diabetes that she says wasn't diagnosed until the 32nd week of her pregnancy. "At this point my OB/GYN shouted at me for not controlling my diabetes better and told me I was going to have a ten pound baby."After being induced two weeks early, Annabel delivered her child. "She was on track to be nine pounds, eight ounces, and had shoulder dystocia [in which birth is delayed due to baby's shoulder getting stuck behind the mother's pubic bone] during birth." The birth itself was traumatic. "I felt terrified and helpless. After, I felt overwhelmed, isolated, and abandoned. I honestly felt that it was by God's grace we were both alive. I broke my tailbone delivering and I have pain during intercourse and numbness which affects my ability to empty my bladder and know when I need to urinate."
I honestly felt that it was by God's grace we were both alive.
Annabel is now terrified about the prospect of delivering an even bigger baby. "I'd say my fear of having a large baby is about an eight out of ten. I feel like I'm getting all the support available now, having switched healthcare provider. But I'm still afraid. I often feel like it was a mistake to get pregnant again, despite the fact my husband and I wanted another child."
Read more: Women Describe Their Orgasmic Births
"Too many people think large babies are harder to birth," she tells Broadly. "I actually think as they are heavier, you have gravity on your side! You're just as likely to tear with a six pounder, as you are with an 11 pounder."A spokesperson from the Royal College of Midwives says that this is not strictly true. "This is not medically correct—tearing during labor is not always dependent upon the weight of the baby but rather on how the mother's labor is progressing. Everyone women is different; her body and her labor will be also be different."If your baby is Hodor-esque huge, there are a few options when it comes to delivery. The obvious: Have a C-section. Or, if you want a vaginal delivery, an episiotomy may be necessary (a surgical cut between the vagina and the anus which enlarges the area available for the baby to come out.)
You've got brown stuff leaking out of your bottom all the time. It's horrible.
Like a Beyoncé album release or a second plastic toy in a box of Lucky Charms, delivering a massive baby can be an unexpected, but not entirely unwelcome, surprise. For every traumatic labor there are many that pass off without so much as a chip in your tailbone. Amber Robohm, 25, from Sacramento delivered her ten pound and four-and-a-half ounce baby in an hour and 55 minutes—about the length of your average Hollywood blockbuster."My labor was so short I didn't even push, she came out quickly on her own. I had no tearing, no swelling, no complications as all." Curiously, Robohm didn't have diabetes or a history of large babies in her family, so is at a loss for why baby Emma was so big."As increased obesity levels, a reduction in smoking, and generally improved diets mean more women are having bigger babies, birth advocates believe more than ever that women need to be educated about the possibility of having cat-sized offspring."Women need to be fully informed going into the birth," Treadwell says. "We shouldn't advocate either way—for cesarean or vaginal birth, for home birth or for hospital deliveries—but we do need to make sure women have all the facts."*Name has been changed