More on fat bias and pregnancy

Jill at The Unnecessarean linked to this frustrating but great birth story at My Best Birth. “A Curvy Gal’s fight for a Natural Childbirth” is full of head exploding details, such as baseless threats from her midwife, recommendations for risky procedures with a lack of adequate informed consent, and suggestions of medical approaches that would actually increase the risk of adverse outcomes, not decrease them.

Here is a choice quote:

After some research, I called my midwife to say that I did not want a Miso induction, and that I wanted to wait and go into labor spontaneously. She said, “Well, in my experience, women with BMIs higher that 26 tend to have cervixes that won’t dilate without chemical induction.” Okay—first I was being pressured into induction because of the increased risks of a long gestation to m y baby and NOW she’s saying that because I am a curvier gal, my body is somehow clueless about giving birth (by the way, I had NO other risk factors in this pregnancy—no gestational diabetes, no elevated blood pressure, etc) I have since searched high and low for ANY medical study that supports her belief and have come up with nothing. I argued with her that I’d like to give my body the chance to go into labor on its own—at least through the weekend (agreeing to the postponed induction with the foly (sic) catheter instead). She was condescending and doubtful, but ultimately said it was up to me.


The good news is that she did her research, refused the inductions, and ended up going into labor spontaneously and having a quick and easy birth.


Filed under Uncategorized

9 responses to “More on fat bias and pregnancy

  1. With a high BMI I would rather avoid a C-section on her d/t increased risk of the wound getting infected. I think we all ought to get into waiting for labor a bit more. But hey that is just me. Sick of the induction rates. It is just getting stupid.

  2. I should write a book, “What to expect when your expecting and a little bit fluffy.”

  3. Paige

    I can’t even put into words how sick I am of hearing (reading) people say, “the baby was due yesterday. If it’s not here by tomorrow I’m getting induced.” For fuck’s sake, people, let the freaking kid decide when s/he is ready to come out!! Most people can’t even pin point the actual day of ovulation and base their due dates on LMP. I don’t know about you, but my cycle has NEVER fit into the textbook 28 day routine.

  4. My BMI is well over 30. Not sure what it is actually. I figure I don’t actually need to know, since I’m someone who is active (and was during pregnany) and eats pretty welll. Thankfully I had a sensible ob/gyn who paid attention to my blood pressure and glucose levels (always normal and healthy) and general wellbeing rather than what the scales said. Actually, he never even weighed me. I had spontaneous rupture of the membranes at 39 weeks and a straightforward nine hour labour with only nitrous oxide for pain relief and an unassisted delivery with no tearing. So, um, I guess my body can cope with being fat and having a baby at the same time, so long as my body is also generally healthy. Amazing!!
    Unless an obese woman actually has GD or blood pressure problems or other complicating risk factors then care providers are just using her weight as an excuse for increased intervention, in my opinion. And because obese people are so often treated poorly by doctors and told by the whole world we’re horribly unhealthy regardless of how much exercise we do or what our blood tests say, it’s pretty hard not to believe that by being fat, we’re risking the health of our babies too. I mean, fat + parenthood = a mortal sin in this fat-phobic world of ours.

  5. Yeah, the bias among some careproviders about fat and pregnancy is pretty appalling and only getting worse, it seems. You wouldn’t believe some of the stories I hear via my website,, or my blog,

    Some are completely well-meaning, but it’s really common for care providers to belive that fat women just can’t give birth vaginally, or can’t without induction/augmentation and early epidurals. I beg to differ.

    Then there are those who believe that being Pregnant While Fat is equivalent to child abuse. There’s a new article on that on the blogosphere just recently in fact; I’ll be commenting on that lovely one soon on my blog.

    Some days the fat hate out there just makes my head want to explode.

    • MomTFH

      I love your websites! Geez, I meant to link to Well-Rounded Mama when I wrote this. Well, to make up for it, I added you to the blogroll.

  6. ladyg

    I wish folks weren’t so ‘concerned’ about baby size. Yeah, I am overweight. Normal pregnancy. NO sign of GD. First baby (where I did have slightly high glucose on one test, but it resolved on another) baby was 8lbs 10 oz. Second baby was 10 lbs 4 oz.

    Everyone says, oh a c-section like its a done deal. That makes me sad.

    My reply?
    No. A 45 minute labor with no stitches. Thanks. Apparently my body can manage a big baby, being fat and all that.

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