One of the biggest things I've had to go through in both of my pregnancies so far have been larger babies. I don't find lots of articles or content on the internet about what it's like and what comes with growing a larger baby. My first born was on the 98th percentile, and if you're a first time mum with no real experience with childbirth and growth during pregnancy, hearing the word percentile can be really confusing. I know for me i had no idea what they were talking about when they referred to my baby being in the 98th Percentile. I'll give you my perspective of what they have told me about percentiles.
Let's take my first born for example being in the 98th Percentile, they compare your baby to that of 100 other babies at the same gestational age. Originally i thought that meant "oh well does that mean my baby is in 98th place or something," it does kind of, but it doesn't. It means that my baby was bigger than 98 of the other babies they compared him to. For me it took me quite some time to actually get used to it, because i struggled understanding everything as a First Time Mum. And after countless research i couldn't find anything about what this meant either, did this mean there was something wrong with my baby? Is he healthy? Is he safe? I had numerous questions and i couldn't really get the reassurance i needed given i couldn't get in to see my GP too often. If you can't get medical advice as quickly as you need it, i strongly urge you to join a pregnancy due date group! It's full of other pregnant mummies, some First Time mum's, some second or third plus, and they can give you some quick reassurance if you need it. Because even though you don't quite know the answers some of them, may have already been through this, and hearing it from someone's actual experience can be so much more reassuring!
The answers of course, were Yes and No. Yes he was safe, yes he was healthy, and no there was nothing wrong with him, he was just a big bigger than the average and whilst that sounds scary, it's actually perfectly okay. But there are some things that come with carrying a larger baby, at least in my experience.
Stretch Marks! Oh my goodness, i had so many stretch marks by the end of my first pregnancy and i know someone love them, but for me, i was embarrassed by them, and
that's okay too. Not everyone is happy with what happens to their bodies during pregnancy, and it's nothing to be ashamed of either. It's always important to remember, that your body is doing amazing things, growing a little human, and that you don't have to be embarrassed by what happens. But it's natural to feel a little self conscious, most women do, so you are not alone at all!
Hunger! Now i already know this won't happen to everyone, but it did for me. In my last trimester i was hungry all the time! and i just couldn't get enough food. They say that the third trimester is when baby starts packing on a bit of extra weight ready to come out into the world. But don't listen to those people who will tell you that the food you
are eating will make your baby huge, it's not the case for me and it may also not be the case for you either. If you are eating lots, but you're eating lots of good foods like salad and vegetables, it's mainly all the good nutrients getting to the baby so i don't believe that eating a bit extra in your last trimester is what causes baby to get big. I have been told by my GP and my midwife that for myself, it is genetics that makes my children larger. And honestly there are plenty of mummas out there who go on a massive food binge in their last trimesters and their babies come out perfectly within a normal size range. If you are worried about your food intake and think it can affect your baby's weight just chat to your GP and they can help you decide whether or not what your eating will affect anything. I'm no medical expert but it's always important to see what your healthcare professional says about your diet and your level of exercise during your pregnancy.
Back Pain! This might not hit everyone, but it hit me like a truck. I carried my first son quite low, but he was also more towards my back than the front, so i found the added weight of a larger baby incredibly difficult to deal, especially as i was working full time in
a stand up job. If you also work in a predominantly standing job and have an employer who is sympathetic, i would urge you to ask them if you can alternate between your usual duties and ones where you can maybe be allowed to sit and take some pressure off your back. After all, even though you're growing a little person, you're body is just as important and it needs extra taking care of! During the third trimester is when i experienced most of my back pain from carrying quite a heavy load. You may find sciatica can be a problem during your third trimester, i have written an article with some helpful tips for that as well, feel free to have a read if you are experiencing sciatica or want to watch for the signs.
From the moment you learn that you may have a larger baby it can be scary. It doesn't have to be scary, ask lots of questions to your GP, midwife or obstetrician and they can help you understand that it will all be okay. Confide in others, join Facebook groups, do your research, because being prepared may help you just that much more.
For me, my first born was measuring 3-4 weeks ahead and we only learnt this at his 35 week scan. SO i didn't get as much time to prepare as i would have liked as i was induced only three weeks later. Babies can change growth fast, always keep that in mind, if you feel you need a growth scan, push for one. If you want a scan for peace of mind, push for one. Because at my 20 week scan, my son was measuring 2 days ahead and that was all, they were not concerned about his size even remotely. But a lot happened in that time so it's important to know this stuff. If you have a history of big babies in your family, if you were a big baby anything like that, always keep in mind that you could also have a big baby and ensure that the medical professionals in charge of your pregnancy know that also. If it weren't for that 35 week scan i would not have known he would have been big til he came out, and honestly i think that could have done some serious damage to my body had i not been induced early. My son was born two weeks early and was 9pound1. Which is considered quite a large baby, he came out exactly as they had predicted.
Don't let what I'm saying scare you entirely. Scans and fundal height are not always accurate, sometimes they can predict a larger baby and when you go into labor, your baby may be average or only slightly bigger than normal. It's why it is important to speak to your GP, keep an open mind, prepare and do your research. It's all i can suggest really, hopefully my experience can help you with yours.