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Pregnant With a Large Baby – Should I be Induced?

When a woman is pregnant with a large baby (the medical term is macrosomia), health care providers sometimes recommend inducing labor as the best way to ensure a comfortable, vaginal birth. But that’s not necessarily true.

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), inducing labor in a woman carrying a large baby can double the chance of the delivery resulting in a cesarean section – with no substantial health advantages for either mother or baby.


A March of Dimes report states that labor was induced in 20% of US deliveries in 2003, more than twice the amount reported ten years earlier. Some medical professionals believe that many induced births are medically unnecessary, including when a woman is pregnant with a large baby.

Reasons to Induce Labor:

According to the ACOG, the only time labor should be induced is when a medical situation puts the baby’s safety at greater risk by staying inside the mother than by being born. Some of these reasons include high blood pressure in the mother, a uterine infection or other maternal health issues (such as diabetes) that could affect the baby, a pregnancy that has lasted 42 weeks or membrane rupture (your water breaks) but labor doesn’t begin.

Notably, from a medical standpoint, being pregnant with a large baby is not reason enough to induce delivery. Not only does inducing labor increase the possibility of having a cesarean section, there’s no medically accurate way to know just how large a baby is until it is born. The ACOG reported in 2004 that more than half of women told they were carrying large babies actually delivered normal-weight babies.

Risks associated with induced birth

In some cases, labor is induced for reasons of convenience – but the procedure isn’t risk-free, even under elective circumstances. Keep this in mind if you’re pregnant with a large baby and considering an induced birth.

In addition to the increased risk of a cesarean section, which is major surgery, induction also increases the chance of fetal distress during labor, since the process is begun artificially. Because due dates aren’t always exact, an induced birth can also result in mild prematurity or a “late preterm” baby, and babies born just a few weeks early are at a higher risk for health complications during their first year than full-term babies.

Induced labor often requires more medical intervention than non-induced births, in part because a woman whose delivery is induced is given IV medication and also because contractions induced artificially are often longer and more intense than natural contractions, which could increase a woman’s need for pain medication. When labor is induced, the expectant mother will probably have to stay in bed – if you’re pregnant with a large baby, changing position during labor can be helpful in relieving discomfort, but this may not be easy to do if labor is being induced.

Having a healthy labor experience:

You can still have a “normal” labor and delivery process if you’re pregnant with a large baby. If you know that you’re carrying a macrosomic baby and want to avoid inducing labor, try to stay in good physical shape during pregnancy and practice labor breathing and positioning so that you’ll build up the necessary stamina.

Unless a medical reason indicates the need for induction, your body and your baby should let you know when it’s time for the baby to be born. If the baby’s size makes labor especially uncomfortable, try changing your position; squatting might help when you’re pregnant with a large baby.

Other articles you may like

Inducing Labor: What Happens During Labor Induction
For most pregnancies there is no need to “induce” labor, which means to move it forward through artificial means. But there are some situations in which doctors will call for induction because waiting for labor to happen on its own might not be safe for the baby or the mother.

Natural Ways to Induce Labor
As you reach the end of your pregnancy, you may begin looking for natural ways to induce labor. Please keep in mind that you should not use any of these methods until you are past your due date.

Stages of Labor: Childbirth Primer
Signs of labor can vary from person to person, but all women with the exception of cesarean sections will go through four stages of labor.


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