Narrow hips and childbirth - please tell me about your experiences (good or bad)!

(24 Posts)
Ouchy Fri 18-Jan-13 17:34:32

Hi I am expecting my second child and worried about my pelvis being wrong shape / too small for natural birth. I know this can actually happen.

Basically, I do not have "childbearing" hips, or a womanly figure. I'm not a small person in stature, but my hips are slim, more masculine than shapely. I do have a slightly defined waist, but am relatively straight up and down overall.

Is anyone else like this and if so how did you fare in childbirth? Were things straightforward or did your shape hamper your ability to push baby out?

My first (induced) labour ended in emergency section after I dilated only 4cm, due to fetal distress. So I have never had chance to try my pelvis out!

All responses appreciated, I am debating whether to attempt 'trial of labour' or t for planned caesarean. Thanks smile

My figure sounds similar. Not much diff between my hip and waist measurement.

Dd was failure to progress, back to back and ventouse delivery sunny side up.
DS was footling breech. I took the c section. Far better than howling about my backside for 12 straight hours.

I figure my hips weren't designed for childbirth. It's the 21st century so ultimately don't panic!

But you never can tell.

elvisola Fri 18-Jan-13 17:45:52

DD1 was born after a 24 hr labour which involved a large amount of drugs, ventouse, forceps and eventually an emergency c section when her heart rate dropped through the floor.

The consultant who had been trying to deliver her told me that I was unable to give birth naturally due to the size and shape of my pelvis and that I would have been one of the mothers to die in labour 50 years so.

I have a very boyish straight up and down figure - no waist/hip definition at all.

My DD2 was born by elective c section and was a much happier experience.

No idea if the hip width contributed or if I just have a funny shape pelvis though to be honest.

Loquace Fri 18-Jan-13 17:46:00

Similar, C-sec after 24 hours due to somebody's big fat head.

But, I did work with a woman, I'm not joking, she was build like a Pippa doll. A size four/six when a size 10 was a 1984 size 10.

She pushed out three massive babies, and I have absolutly no idea how.

She may have been chanelling the tardis or something.

DewDr0p Fri 18-Jan-13 17:46:20

I've got very slim hips and had 3 very straightforward natural deliveries. 2 in a mw led unit and 1 at home. Slowest was under 6 hours, fastest under 2.

So I'm not sure the size of your hips is the key factor here. Did you stop dilating last time or is there good reason to think things would have progressed if the baby hadn't been distressed? Were the medics able to tell you what was causing the distress?

Hope you can find a solution you feel happy with OP.

CarpeNoctem Fri 18-Jan-13 19:32:12

Wiki link with picture in it: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_pelvis

When we talk about hip size, we are usually referring to the width we see on the outside, which is essentially the distance between the two iliac crests (the widest part that looks like wings in the picture). Baby comes through the hole in the centre of the pelvis (pelvic brim). It's possible to have a smallish distance between the crests but still have a decent sized pelvic brim that isn't going to cause problems with labour. It's also possible to have an hourglass or pear shaped body where the hips are large compared with the waist, but the actual bony part of the pelvis has a small brim and would cause difficulties.

Isandri Fri 18-Jan-13 21:02:50

Im a very petite build. I'm 5ft 4in and if I'm working out regularly my eight drops to just below 8 stone and I end up as a size 4 to 6 with a C to D cup chest. From the side my hips are very narrow. I have an almost 9 week old son. I was induced at 41 weeks and after having my waters broken I went on the drip with a walking epidural. At 9.5cm the epidural was turned off and I think the drip was kept on. I waited for my body start pushing the baby out approx 4 hours and then I started pushing. I spent almost 30min pushing lying on my back then went onto my knees. 15 min later son was born. He was 8lb 12oz, 53cm long and I only needed 6 stitches. Every though I was throwing up from the pain when the epidural was off I'd happily do it'll again and my post birth recovery has been really good. Possibly tmi here but I even did the deed almost 5 weeks after giving birth and while I was a bit nervous about my stitches I enjoyed it enough I did it again a few nights later!

1944girl Sat 19-Jan-13 19:15:22

I am like elvisola.

I am 4ft 10ins and before I hit the menopause and started putting on weight my hips measured 33 ins.
My first baby in 1969 was born by crash section.I was in labour like for ever, baby's head not engaged when my waters broke he went into transverse lie became distressed so rush to theatre and both of us nearly died.
Second pregnancy (this was 1972 when sections were not done as much as now) I was informed by a consultant that the main reason for section was the transverse lie and I will be having what he called ''trial of labour''.Then the learned gentleman told me that I should be considering the tubal tie because of the high possibility of another section and ''we cant you open each time you have a baby''.
Because of my horrific experience first time round I agreed to the tubal tie if another section needed.I had tokophobia big time then but the word was unheard of in those days.
Trial of labour of course failed, because of no dilatation despite long labour and imminent(sp) danger of uterine rupture.When I was opened up my DS2 had to be lifted out of my uterus with forceps as his head was jammed in my narrow pelvis.Like his brother he weighed around seven and a half pounds so was not big.
It was after this that obstetricians discovered that my pelvis was too narrow for me to give birth without a ceasarian.Today I would probably have had an ELCS the second time round.In those days it was differant.
Yes I had the tubal tie done with the second section.I just wanted to make sure this would never happen again.
Sorry if I have scared anyone but this was now over 40 years ago.I was also told that at one time I would have died in childbirth with my baby as nearly happened the first time.

GloryWhole Sat 19-Jan-13 19:27:20

On the flip-side, i have what's been called 'child-bearing hips' by many. I'm very 'hippy' - yet, i had an 80+hour labour, resulting in a forceps delivery.

maxbear Sat 19-Jan-13 22:31:20

It is much more unusual to have a small pelvis these days due to people having a much better diet. It does seem to happen sometimes, not necessarily with small looking people though. Some people who are tall have an android pelvis which is a pelvis that is more like a male shaped one. This can cause problems especially if the baby is large or in an awkward position.

Ouchy Wed 10-Jul-13 21:25:37

Thanks. I had a natural birth, no problems with hips! Thanks for your replies smile

coribells Wed 10-Jul-13 21:33:09

I have the classic childbearing hips.No benefit for childbirth in my experience. Had two sections.pm first one was as a result of failure to progress 41+5 weeks. didn't dilate more than 5cm after being induced

My mother was told she had narrow hips and would never have a vaginal birth. She had 6 vaginal births smile no bother.

I think it's more the shape of the inside of your hips rather than the shape you are on the outside?

oh, and my mum is 4.11 and a size 10.

Goldmandra Sat 13-Jul-13 00:07:58

I had an emergency section with DD1 and had the feeling all the way through the 48 hour labour leading up to it that I had been making no progress at all. I don't think DD1's head ever engaged.

At my six week check I asked for a scan of my pelvis to see if it was big enough to give birth. I was told that they wouldn't be able to tell, that your pelvis moves apart in childbirth, etc and it would be a waste of time.

I escalated this with the help of my GP and eventually saw the clinical director of the hospital. I insisted that, if they could tell me my pelvis was normal, I would try a vaginal birth for future pregnancies but, as it stood, I would be requesting an elective C-section. I wasn't willing to take the risk on a repeat performance.

I had the scan and received a letter telling me that the size and shape of my pelvis would indicate that I wouldn't be able to give birth naturally and elective C-sections at 38 weeks were strongly recommended for any future pregnancies.

DD2 was born at 38 weeks by elective CS which was lovely and calm.

I am really glad that I stuck to my guns.

I have an hourglass shaped figure BTW although it doesn't go in much in the middle these days smile

MammaCici Thu 18-Jul-13 18:35:10

My midwife told me that it is impossible to tell from the outside what your internal hip measurements are. It's not how wide the are on the outside but the internal cavity width that counts.

Monka Sun 21-Jul-13 13:13:47

And even if your internal cavity width is small like mine as I have a narrow sub pubic arch that apparently isn't good enough reason to get a csection as your muscles and bones could still stretch to accommodate the baby during labour. I am almost 38 weeks and knowing that I have a small pubic bone that could get in the way of delivering the baby's head and shoulders means that I will try and not take an epidural if possible as I want to squat while delivering the baby as it opens up the pelvis further by another 33 per cent.

Ushy Sun 21-Jul-13 21:23:13

You can squat with an epidural Monka - I did and had no problems - doses today are quite light so you still have some feeling and your legs shouldn't go dead unless you have had a long labour.

Monka Mon 22-Jul-13 17:13:33

Ushy - thanks for the info I will certainly keep that in mind when I go into labour!

Barabajagal Mon 22-Jul-13 17:16:15

Congratulations Ouchy!

insanityscratching Mon 22-Jul-13 18:46:28

I had an xray of my pelvis after an obstetrician expressed concerns that my small frame might make vaginal delivery impossible. Their measurements indicated that I should have a trial of labour. I subsequently delivered four babies vaginally weighing between 7 and 8 pounds. I'm five foot tall and have small hands and feet which was the reason given for their concern. Incidentally my gm who was of the same build but an inch shorter delivered my df who weighed 13lb at home without pain relief shock

blondecat Wed 24-Jul-13 13:01:48

It's not the hips but the inside if the pelvis that matters

Less of a hoop than a tube with different protrusions / angles

So it's v hard to judge from the outside. They can do an x ray or even an mri to see exactly what is going on

Good luck

pxmx Wed 24-Jul-13 17:44:42

My sil is not a small lady (not heavy just a strong build) and has what have often been described as perfect child bearing hips, (her words not mine) but she cannot give birth naturally. Her first resulted in an emergency c sect after the baby became distressed, her second also resulted in a c sect after a trial labor that wasnt progressing. After the second section the doctor came to see her and told her that due to the shape of her pelvis she would never be able to give birth naturally because, the baby quite simply would not fit out.
Mean while a friend of mine who is built like a twiglet and has the tiniest pair of hips ive ever seen gave birth to a 9 lb boy with no problem & no pain relief!! So im sure size doesnt matter its the shape that counts ;)

JiltedJohnsJulie Thu 25-Jul-13 09:27:55

Your hips *cannot^ be smaller than mine. Before dc1 I was wearing age 12 clothes...

Had both DC pretty problem free. Interestingly my bf who is curvy and has always been told she had childbearing hips ended up with 2 emergency sections. Think its got nothing to do with your hips and more to do with your luck on the day.

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