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Do petite women face more risks during pregnancy?

shihtzulover

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jun 30, 2010
Messages
717
Hi everyone,

I'm not ready to have kids yet - my fiance and just got engaged a little under a month ago. I'm already worried, though! I definitely look forward to when we can try for children, and then hopefully bring our own little bundle of joy into the world. Don't get me wrong, because I'm definitely enjoying life before children, but it's difficult to not think about it, especially with so many of my friends having kids around this time.

I know that it will be such a magical time for us, but I'm scared. Honestly, labor looks soooo scary and painful. I am very petite, too, which makes it even scarier. I am 5'0" tall, and just all-around small. On the other hand, my fiance is about 6' tall, and he is large-boned. Is it more likely that I will have issues, as opposed to another woman with a larger frame?

I'm definitely very worried about the labor, but also about the pregnancy itself. I have one friend who is in the hospital because her water broke early (she isn't even 30 weeks pregnant yet). I don't want for that to happen to me! She already has one child, and I believe that pregnancy was normal, with no complications.

Also - this is extremely sad - but another friend of mine just lost her baby at 28 weeks. We aren't super close, so I don't know the details - just that she had cramps and went to the hospital, and gave birth to a stillborn baby. She already has two children, and one of them has severe heart defects. It's so heartbreaking. :(

Neither of the friends that I mentioned are particularly small; they are both in the average range. But, are complications more likely to happen to a petite woman? Or is it just as likely for me to have a completely normal, healthy pregnancy as anyone else?

Thanks so much for the help and advice. :)
 

random_thought

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jul 5, 2010
Messages
1,065
I'm also 5'0 and I'm pregnant right now. I am in physical therapy for issues with a joint in my back that the baby has decided would be the nicest place to take up residence upon right now. I'm not sure if this is related to my height at all but it really hasn't been the worst thing I've dealt with...I should add that I'm a little over 19 weeks along and so far so good, just a little spotting in the beginning but that was due to me having an "angry cervix" as the nurse put it lol. I don't think that has anything to do with height though. I'm also Rh- in my blood but again, not really a height issue. The only thing I can think of that might get annoying is that the baby will be protruding a lot further in front of me than most women who have more abdominal space. It's already to the point where I can't roll from one side to the other because my stomach gets in the way. I hope this helps a bit?
 

Pandora II

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 3, 2006
Messages
9,613
Evolution is clever and your body will give you the size of baby that you can carry!

I've seen friends who looked like little fairies give birth to bonny, bouncing babies with no problems at all. I had a horrible pregnancy and L&D and I'm 5ft 10" so there is really no way of knowing for sure.
 

Hudson_Hawk

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 2, 2006
Messages
10,541
Listen, human beings have been reproducing since the dawn of our existence. Women are designed to bear and birth children, that is basically our soul purpose from a biological standpoint. To birth and raise until the child can fend for itself. Only in very rare instances are women not able to birth children because they're too small/the child is too big, and in those instances there are medical interventions to ensure that both the mother and child are healthy in the end.

Pregnancy discomfort such as joint pain is more related to the overall physical health of the mother (things like weight, flexibility, etc) than size or skeletal composition. The size of your baby is something that's out of your control and just because your husband is tall doesn't mean that you're going to have a large baby. So I would focus more on things you CAN control, such as making sure you're in shape and healthy before you get pregnant than things that you can't control and leave the rest up to nature and your medical team.

My good friend is 4'11" and probably 95 lbs soaking wet. She gave birth to an 8.5 lb baby naturally (with no drugs) and only pushed for 45 minutes.

ETA: Issues leading to miscarriages and stillbirths are usually related to an anatomical issue with the mother (such as a problem with the placenta) or chromosomal abnormalities in the fetus, not because the child ran out of room because the mother was too small.
 

tiffanytwisted

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Mar 28, 2006
Messages
792
My cousin is about your size (5 feet tall, 100 pounds) and she has two children, both weighing more than 8 lbs at birth. And she delivered them both vaginally- didn't have any problems throughout her pregnancy.
Pandora's right, evolution is clever and your body will figure it out.
 

dreamer_dachsie

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 16, 2007
Messages
24,335
I think you might benefit from reading some good positive literature about labour and delivery. Ina May Gaskin, a renouned midwife, has a number of excellent books. Fear in an of itself has a negative impact of pregnancy and labour, in my opinion, so anything you can do to help develop a more accepting and healthy attitude towards what is a natural process for the female body will likely help you along immensely. Like anything in life, bad things happen to women and babies, and it is often out of our control. But more often everything goes perfectly. Somehow finding that optimism is really key.
 

shihtzulover

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jun 30, 2010
Messages
717
Thanks so much for your replies and advice, everyone! It's great to hear that so many petite women are able to give birth without any major issues. I guess that I just need to stop worrying so much. :)
 

swimmer

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 9, 2007
Messages
2,516
Worry itself is a greater cause of issues in pregnancy than size. Just think, in Japan you are dead avg for height.

Start taking prenatals before you get pregnant and you will have even less to worry about.
 

NewEnglandLady

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 27, 2007
Messages
6,298
I had an operation when I was 12 which prevented my torso from growing from that point, so essentially the size of my torso is the exact same now as it was when I was 12. When my husband and I decided we wanted to start trying soon-ish, I set up an appts. with both an orthopedic surgeon as well as an ob/gyn with experience with my medical condition to talk about this. Basically, I was told the same thing that Swimmer just menioned--there are many cultures where petite women are common and they have no issues birthing children, so my very petite torso was not a concern for them. They did say that I may start getting a bit more uncomfortable around the 6 month mark than I would if I had a slightly larger torso, but I may have no discomfort at all. So anyway, I do understand your concerns since I had the same concerns, but I know it eased my mind when both of my doctors had no concern.
 

Hudson_Hawk

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 2, 2006
Messages
10,541
NewEnglandLady|1294001961|2812517 said:
I had an operation when I was 12 which prevented my torso from growing from that point, so essentially the size of my torso is the exact same now as it was when I was 12. When my husband and I decided we wanted to start trying soon-ish, I set up an appts. with both an orthopedic surgeon as well as an ob/gyn with experience with my medical condition to talk about this. Basically, I was told the same thing that Swimmer just menioned--there are many cultures where petite women are common and they have no issues birthing children, so my very petite torso was not a concern for them. They did say that I may start getting a bit more uncomfortable around the 6 month mark than I would if I had a slightly larger torso, but I may have no discomfort at all. So anyway, I do understand your concerns since I had the same concerns, but I know it eased my mind when both of my doctors had no concern.

Sorry to threadjack, but :appl: :appl: :appl: :appl: :appl: :appl: :appl: :appl: :appl: :appl: :appl: :appl: :appl: :appl: :appl: :appl: :appl: :appl: :appl: :appl: :bigsmile:
 

Hudson_Hawk

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 2, 2006
Messages
10,541
NP! You know where to find me.
 

luvinlife

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jun 18, 2006
Messages
277
shihtzu,
:wavey:
I'm currently 26 weeks pregnant. I'm petite as you are and am 4'11". I've had a super pregnancy with no complications( thank you God!). While my belly appears humongous to me, I think it's attributed to fact that I've never weighed more than 100 lbs.
Stop worrying and enjoy the ride when you get there.

Ps: I've posted pics in the pregnant p'sers if you are interested.

Smiles,
LL
 

somethingshiny

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 22, 2007
Messages
6,746
I just need to add this. Call me hormonal as I'm still recovering from my recent stuff.

MOST of the time you will have a baby you can carry and deliver somewhat easily. I have cousins who are five foot tall and maybe 100 lbs. One has carried 4 children, all over 9 lbs. The other has had 6 children, all over 8 lbs. So it can be done and can be done often. I don't like the generalization that a woman who can't carry or deliver vaginally has that problem because she lacks strength, endurance, flexibility or has weight or health issues. Sometimes it just happens and women who have c-sections usually are displeased with the outcome and look for reasons to blame themselves anyway without the added insult of telling them it's their fault. I agree that most of the time, it'll be fine and women shouldn't be worried about NOT being able to carry a baby due to their size. But, any woman who has trouble should also not worry that she did anything wrong or that her body wasn't "made" to carry a baby.

That is all


:wavey:
 

dreamer_dachsie

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 16, 2007
Messages
24,335
somethingshiny|1294032920|2812922 said:
I just need to add this. Call me hormonal as I'm still recovering from my recent stuff.

MOST of the time you will have a baby you can carry and deliver somewhat easily. I have cousins who are five foot tall and maybe 100 lbs. One has carried 4 children, all over 9 lbs. The other has had 6 children, all over 8 lbs. So it can be done and can be done often. I don't like the generalization that a woman who can't carry or deliver vaginally has that problem because she lacks strength, endurance, flexibility or has weight or health issues. Sometimes it just happens and women who have c-sections usually are displeased with the outcome and look for reasons to blame themselves anyway without the added insult of telling them it's their fault. I agree that most of the time, it'll be fine and women shouldn't be worried about NOT being able to carry a baby due to their size. But, any woman who has trouble should also not worry that she did anything wrong or that her body wasn't "made" to carry a baby.

That is all


:wavey:
I think the main point is that the types of issues that can lead to c-section are independent of the size of the mother. They can happen to any woman, regardless of her height/weight/proportions.
 

TravelingGal

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 29, 2004
Messages
17,193
Agree with the gals here. Stay positive and focus on good vibes! Last year, my 5'2" friend who is about 105-110 lbs held on to triplets for 36 weeks, and gave birth to boys who were 4.4, 4.14 and 5.2 (I think) lbs. It's mind boggling what the body can do. And the worst thing was the witch looked smaller than me, who only had ONE child.
 

rosetta

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 7, 2010
Messages
3,417
My 5'2 aunt gave birth to a 10 pounder.

You'll, in all likelihood, be absolutely fine.
 

Hudson_Hawk

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 2, 2006
Messages
10,541
Just to clarify-what I said earlier about the affect of weight and/or poor physical condition on pregnancy was in relation to pain and physical discomfort while pregnant, and NOT labor.
 

Megalomi

Rough_Rock
Joined
Oct 8, 2007
Messages
26
I don't necessarily know if one would narrow it down to petite women in general, every pregnancy is different. The human body is an amazing thing.

Our story:

My handsome husband is 6'3 and I stand tall at 4'11. For the most part, I wasn't miserable and carried pretty well with my frame.
We later learned that I have an incompetent cervix when I was admitted to the hospital at 25 weeks.

Our boy was born at 27 weeks gestation, 13 weeks premature. Born on my birthday in 11/2002 and originally due 2/14/03.
2lbs 15oz and 15 inches long to be exact :)

He had the following surgery:

1. PDA ligation to repair a valve in his heart when medication wouldn’t work to seal a murmur.
2. Blood transfusions
3. Jaundice
4. Nissen Fundoplication to repair his herniated esophagus ring which was causing GERD
5. Insertion of a gastric tube to eat from
6. He had Chronic Lung Disease as a result of constant intubation while in the NICU – later ruled out at age 6 by his Pulmonologist
7. Side effect of the PDA ligation surgery was vocal cord paralysis – Left one: when a hair thin nerve was damaged in surgery (we were aware of the risk), he risked aspirating any foods since both your vocal cords worked to seal of foods/liquids when we eat/drink – you couldn’t hear him cry for the longest time… one of the reasons why in addition to the GERD that he had to have a gastric tube inserted into his stomach. .
Later – his ENT said that the right vocal cord had started to overcompensate for the left…deeming him free and clear, the only thing he might not do is be an opera singer or scream. Nowadays…he can hoot, holler and yell with the best of them. Our neighbor upstairs is an opera singer and he likes to copy him. :)
8. Retinopathy of prematurity – He was at risk for going blind early because of how early he was born. Later ruled out by his ophthalmologist 3 months after discharged from the hospital.
9. Cerebral Palsy – we were told he had a high chance for this as well. Later ruled out by his specialist.

He was in the hospital from November 2002 – March 2003.

Until he was 3, he had various therapists provided by the state – i.e., early intervention therapist, speech therapist, physical therapy, and OT :all of fine motor therapy.

He came home hooked up to an oxygen tank, take his feeding through an IV machine that delivered it through is “plug-in” button (gastric tube) and an apnea/heart monitor.

Despite all the odds – he won :appl:

He skateboards, draws, sings, plays the electric guitar. He’s one of the most popular kids at his magnet school. He’s compassionate and caring. I think that most NICU babies are.

I didn't write this to scare anyone...it was probably more detailed than needed. My point being, I wouldn't bank on your partner's height to fear carrying a baby. As long as you take care of yourself and get checked regularly, you'll be just fine.
 

DivaDiamond007

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jun 7, 2007
Messages
1,828
Hudson_Hawk|1293998991|2812479 said:
Listen, human beings have been reproducing since the dawn of our existence. Women are designed to bear and birth children, that is basically our soul purpose from a biological standpoint. To birth and raise until the child can fend for itself. Only in very rare instances are women not able to birth children because they're too small/the child is too big, and in those instances there are medical interventions to ensure that both the mother and child are healthy in the end.

Pregnancy discomfort such as joint pain is more related to the overall physical health of the mother (things like weight, flexibility, etc) than size or skeletal composition. The size of your baby is something that's out of your control and just because your husband is tall doesn't mean that you're going to have a large baby. So I would focus more on things you CAN control, such as making sure you're in shape and healthy before you get pregnant than things that you can't control and leave the rest up to nature and your medical team.

My good friend is 4'11" and probably 95 lbs soaking wet. She gave birth to an 8.5 lb baby naturally (with no drugs) and only pushed for 45 minutes.

ETA: Issues leading to miscarriages and stillbirths are usually related to an anatomical issue with the mother (such as a problem with the placenta) or chromosomal abnormalities in the fetus, not because the child ran out of room because the mother was too small.

This!

I am 5'0" and my husband is 6'1". We have two children; our son was 6lbs, 7oz and 20.5" born at 36 weeks, 4 days. I went into labor with him naturally and he was perfectly healthy despite being a month early. Our daughter was just born on January 4 and she was 4lbs, 14 ozs and 18". She was born at 35 weeks, 4 days and is still in the NICU. I had to have an emergency c-section with her as I had a placental abruption and my OB was not comfortable putting me on bedrest. Abruptions are something that just happen and it didn't have anything to do with my small size or anything that happened to be during my pregnancy.

I would recommend getting started on prenatal vitamins early (generic are fine) and get into good physical shape before TTC. Good nutrition is also very important, but it can be hard when you crave McDonalds or pizza ;))
 

Tacori E-ring

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 15, 2005
Messages
20,022
I think you are letting your fears get in the way of rational thinking. 5' is short for an American women in 2011 *but* there was a time when 5" was average and thousands of petite women had healthy labor and deliveries. Nature is smart. Baby size is directly related to the mother's birth size. My husband is 6'ish and was over 10lbs when he was born. I am 5'1" and was under 6 lbs (though I was born at 37 weeks). My daughter was born at 41 weeks and a little over 7lbs. I have never been warned about childbirth being a shorter woman. Ever. So, I would suggest you stop worrying. Worry is not going to change or control if you have any complications. Worry will only cause you stress which could actually bring ON complications.
 

Logan Sapphire

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Sep 5, 2003
Messages
2,379
I also think you should try not to worry as much. My MIL is 4'11" and FIL was a large 6'2" and she had 3 sons who were all delivered vaginally with no complications. I think they were all in the 7lbs range. I am 5'3", DH is 6'1", and I had an 8lb 3oz, 21" long baby who came a week early. Again, a vaginal delivery with no complications (fwiw, I was 5lbs when I was born but I'm also a twin). You never know...just because you're smaller in stature doesn't mean there will be any complications. Good luck!
 

jcrow

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 8, 2005
Messages
7,395
5 foot here with a 6 foot husband. i birthed a 6.8 lb. baby girl at 36 weeks. complications? yes, but i see the early birth as a sign my body knew what to do and was ready. what helped ease my mind through the pregnancy was that my mom is shorter than me and probably weighed 15+ lbs less than me. she had me and i was an 8+ lb baby. my grandma, also shorter than me, had 3 children. my mom was practically 10 lbs. now, my mom + grandma had c-sections so i thought i was destined for one. but a v-birth was in the cards for me. your body will do what it needs to do. petite women have birthed babies for centuries :]
 
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