34 week scan showed baby's head on 95th percentile....ouch!

(57 Posts)
inadreamworld Sun 02-Dec-12 17:52:00

I am expecting baby number 2 on 9th Jan. I went for a late scan as my placenta had been low lying at 20 week scan. Luckily it has moved and they say I am fine for a vaginal delivery and baby is head down. The lady who did the scan asked me to talk to the doctor as the baby's head measuring very big (95th percentile) but not abnormally big. The doctor said everything should be fine for a natural delivery and nothing to worry about - especially as it is my 2nd baby and cervix will open faster 2nd time around. Does a bigger head mean I am more likely to need forceps/c-section. Had natural delivery last time - just a 2nd degree tear which healed up fine.

mayhew Sun 02-Dec-12 17:58:15

If you've managed it once without dramas, you are very likely to do it again. Remember the head of a baby is not rigid but adapts to the mothers pelvis.

Many posters on here have delivered significantly larger babies 2nd time round but more easily.

As a midwife, i have just delivered a client that needed ventouse and stitches for 8lb first baby, quick labour, no stitches for 9lb 10oz 2nd.

inadreamworld Sun 02-Dec-12 18:05:44

Thanks mayhew - I must stop reading the traumatic birth experiences of others on Mumsnet!!! Wasn't worried 1st time round at all. Wow - a nearly 10lb baby!! They said mine was around 5lb now but expected to be only 7lb something despite the big head. DD was 7lb 4. Thx again smile

wouldyoupleasemove Sun 02-Dec-12 18:45:42

I'm just been told that I'm about to have a big baby DC2 over 9lbs. Had an extra scan as part of our research trial for the Harris research centre (kings college, London). Am low risk planning a home birth so wouldn't normally be scanned. They completely overreacted IMHO as I'm 6ft and DH is 6ft 3 and therefore should have a big baby. DD wasnt small at 8 lbs 3 oz and escaped with one stitch and no pain relief apart from the water pool. They are trying to get me to extra scans and a gestational diabetes test despite no other worrying indicators and blood sugar which was v much normal at 28 weeks. angry Having read around the subject a lot in the last 24 hours and spoken to my (sensible) friend who is an obs/ gynae senior registrar, growth scans are 25% inaccurate in the third trimester so please don't worry your um , head about it grin

inadreamworld Sun 02-Dec-12 18:55:30

wouldyoupleasemove - thank you - sounds reasonable - you and your DH are tall so you should expect a bigger than average baby.

They didn't even think my baby was big - just the head (!!). Luckily haven't asked me to come back for more scans as the doctor seemed sensible - it was the sonogropher who seemed worried. Glad to hear about inaccuracy of 3rd trimester growth scans.

wouldyoupleasemove Sun 02-Dec-12 19:32:33

Inadreamworld - really don't worry. Everything is easier second time round as mayhew has said and you'll push it out no problems especially after such a 'good' first birth. Its going to be brainy baby though.After careful consideration I'm going to decline all other growth scans. I'm not sure what use they will do other than scare me. My extremely sensible midwife did say just write it my birth plan in case of Failure to progress so they know it could be because of size

DyeInTheEar Sun 02-Dec-12 20:45:54

Am 40+1 with 97% percentile head.... I feel the same as you OP - bit worried about being broken! It's my 3rd so hoping things will move quickly. Do you want me to report back??!

inadreamworld Sun 02-Dec-12 21:03:56

Hi DyeInTheEar - yes, please do report back!! When are you due?

inadreamworld Sun 02-Dec-12 21:04:39

Sorry stupid question - you said you are 40+1 so it will be anytime now smile

discrete Sun 02-Dec-12 21:06:49

Late scans are notoriously unreliable for predicting baby sizes. Don't worry, you'll probably be fine.

DyeInTheEar Sun 02-Dec-12 21:08:33


SchroSawMummyRidingSantaClaus Sun 02-Dec-12 21:35:26

It was predicted that DS would be 9 and a half pounds or slightly more when I had a growth scan. I actually started an almost identical thread, freaking out.

He came out 6lb1oz! grin

Don't worry about it. smile

PoppyWearer Sun 02-Dec-12 21:55:33

I wouldn't worry. My DC1 does have a larger-than-average head (runs in DH's family) but the issues I had with her birth were caused by what she did with her arms and hands as she came down the birth canal. Making her big head even more of an obstacle.

DC2 has a perfectly average-sized head and did the damage with his huge nose (the midwife told me that was what had happened, as before his nose emerged she thought I wasn't going to tear!).

So....it's not exactly under your control! wink Good luck!

wouldyoupleasemove Sun 02-Dec-12 22:16:57

Schro- that's hilarious! I really do think that sometimes these scans do more harm than good

mayhew Sun 02-Dec-12 22:48:07

Head size and shape is strongly inherited. If you or your partner have big heads, then maybe the baby is the same. If you have average heads then the baby is probably in proportion to its weight.

As a previous poster said, its the hands by the head that are more of a problem for causing mum injury! A head is smooth and round, let it out as slowly as you can for a good stretch. It also not too late to do some perineal massage. Once a day, with oil, both thumbs inside the perineum, massage pulling outwards.

designerbaby Sun 02-Dec-12 23:03:27

Scans? Pah.

Said DD1 was "on the small side of average" maybe 6.5-7lbs. Told this at scans at 18 weeks and 36 weeks.

9lbs 8oz. shock

Ditto DD2, even with an extra late scan to check because of previous big baby (I am a petite 5ft 1", so proportionally my babies are a ridiculous size. Dh, on the other hand is 6ft 4". Therefore it is All. His. Fault.). Also 9lbs 8oz.

Good NCT friend. Booked in for a CS at 37 weeks because her DC2 was apparently MASSIVE, and she'd had a rough time with her DC1 who was only just 6lbs. The said he was "already 9lbs+". Luckily she went into labour the day before the scheduled CS. "Massive" DC2 was... 6lbs 8oz. She sailed through with no problems.

Useless feckers. grin

And anyway, you did really well first time around, and there's nothing to suggest big headed baby will cause you any problems. I managed to shove DD2 (9lbs 8oz) in water in four hours with just a bit of gas and air. She had a big head and a big everything else... grin.

Water is your friend, IMHO.

I'm never really sure why they give people this kind of information unless they're suggesting some kind of drastic solution (CS, for example) because of it. I mean, what good does it serve other than to freak out the mum?

Your body know's what it's growing. Trust it. Trust you. You'll do fine.


SingingSands Sun 02-Dec-12 23:12:33

I'm not sure late scans are accurate either. I had 4 late scans with DS, as they were concerned for his growth and estimated he would be 5lbs at birth. He was 8lbs 7 oz at birth!

cbeebiesatemybrain Sun 02-Dec-12 23:14:44

My dd was born with both hands on her head so although she was average size her head circumference was increased iyswim? Pushing took 45 minutes so not too bad and I didn't need any assistance. I did tear but only 2nd degree and all healed fine, I think I probably would have torn anyway as I couldn't stop pushing when mw told me to! Honestly don't worry about it, ime second babies come out much easier than first ones.

Good luck dye and op smile

SchroSawMummyRidingSantaClaus Sun 02-Dec-12 23:15:54

WouldYou I really agree, wish they had never told me that, I was proper freaking out for ages. He ended up wearing tiny and early baby clothes! All the newborn clothes we had taken to the hospital drowned him. hmm

javotte Mon 03-Dec-12 09:01:54

I gave birth at 42wks. DD's head was at the 97th percentile at the last scan. I pushed for about 10 seconds and she was out!
Be sure you have an "active" labour so that the baby can position itself properly.

inadreamworld Mon 03-Dec-12 09:16:49

Thanks everyone!! Managed to push the last one out with no intervention in spite of having induction and epidural. Hope to have a more drug free birth this time if possible.

DyeInTheEar please let me know how your birth goes as not much longer to wait now surely? smile

DyeInTheEar Mon 03-Dec-12 10:17:10

Oh Javotte - 10- seconds? I love hearing those birth stories!! I want quick - but not "oh god I've given birth in the lift" quick!

I will absolutely come back and tell you inadream I went 42 weeks with my other 2 so not that optimistic. Gestation of an elephant. I am so huge.

DH has a big head as well. We had a 4d scan due to check why I was measuring 4 weeks ahead and clearly showed I am giving birth to my husband's mini me - big head and all.

javotte Mon 03-Dec-12 12:12:31

DyeInTheEar the MW didn't have the time to put her gloves on grin but I made it to the delivery room.
It was that fast. I thought "Ow! head! - Ouch! shoulders!" and it was over. Giving birth is actually one of the few things I am good at.

PickleSarnie Mon 03-Dec-12 14:23:21

My DS has a head circumference above the 99.6th centile. Not unexpected, I come from a family of massive noggined people.

He was born after 4 pushes, no pain relief other than TENS and had one stich afterwards.

I think I have a fairly average sized banjo too.

So, it really might not be anywhere near as bad as you expect.

PickleSarnie Mon 03-Dec-12 14:24:27

Fanjo. Not banjo. Banjos were definitely not part of my birth plan.

DyeInTheEar Mon 03-Dec-12 14:37:26

average sized banjo grin

that's good to hear Pickle <concentrates on pelvic floor exercises>

if it helps, OP, DS has a humumgous head (as do I) and came out with only a teensy tear that didn't even really need stitching. He was 9lbs and looong 22 inches I think.

He's 2 1/2 now and tall and wearing hats for 4 year olds. Just how it goes!

DS 2 (due in 2 weeks!) is also measuring big, but I suspect that (1) measurements aren't that reliable and (2) I can probably manage it, since DS1 was ok to push out. I'm not sure if the massage did owt for me tbh, but someone supporting the perineum as you deliver can make all the difference, so it's never too late! smile

SolomanDaisy Mon 03-Dec-12 16:53:57

My DS had a 96th centile head (scan was accurate) and was born with his hand on his head! I had a 15 minute 2nd stage, gas and air and a minor 2nd degree tear. He was my first too.

DyeInTheEar Mon 03-Dec-12 20:02:25

shock Soloman !

DyeInTheEar Mon 03-Dec-12 20:03:40

but someone supporting the perineum as you deliver can make all the difference

How does that actually happen blackcurrants ?

Midgetm Tue 04-Dec-12 09:07:51

DS was 97th. He is 8 weeks and already can't fit into things for 3-6. I did tear but not badly and that was more ventouse than the size of his head. Ventouse was needed because he had turned and his face got stuck. I do shudder a little when I look at his head though...

Dye My midwife sort of cupped my perineum with her fingers and thumb in a C shape as DS crowned, and she was massaging oil in. We're in the USA and it's an Ina May Gaskin thing - the oil took the sting out and the support stopped DS whooshing out, I think!

sanam2010 Tue 04-Dec-12 14:28:46

DD1 was born with 98% percentile head circumference. The 20 week scan had shown this but I had assumed this would normalise by 40 weeks so I forgot about it. I had an uncomplicated natural birth, but through fault of my own the pushing stage lasted 4 hours - mainly because I refused the episiotomy for a long time - I had forgotten about the scan and was sure they always perform episiotomies unnecessarily (as they say in lots of natural birth books :-) ). Finally, when it really wasn't happening and I got exhausted, I agreed to the cut and baby came without problems within a minute. When I found out about her head circumference I felt very stupid. But anyway, she was born fine and healthy without any intervention other than the episiotomy, so you don't need to worry. But my advice is if they suggest episiotomy just agree to it :-).

I am at 36 weeks now with DD2 and 5 week scan showed 40% percentile head size, thank God!

StiffyByng Tue 04-Dec-12 15:06:55

I had a scan at 40+10 to check the placenta and the consultant told me the baby would be at least 10lbs. She was 9lb 1oz and looked a pound lighter according to the midwives-obviously she was dense! She emerged with her hand by her head, second degree tear which healed well. The head squishes in to go down the birth canal anyway.

inadreamworld Wed 05-Dec-12 08:01:22

Looks as if loads of you have had no problems pushing out large headed babies (if indeed the scan measurements are accurate!) smile

inadream there's 2 places it has to get through, the pelvic opening (yer hips - happily mine are huuuge - big arses have their uses it seems!) and the perineum. That part is just skin, so once you're past the pelvis the baby's pretty much GOING to come out, but it helps if you have someone telling you to stop, pant, wait for the head to crown, support the perineum/massage it with oil just at that point, because it reduces your chance of tearing. You may still tear- I did, had one little stitch - but after a week of wincing immediately after the birth, I've not had any real problems with it, despite the enormo-noggin smile

I'd do all and any perineal massage you can.

octanegirl Wed 05-Dec-12 18:10:47

I'm in the same boat but with DC1... Interesting to hear about perineal support as they crown though.

I delivered an 11 lb baby with no stitches. I did perineal massage and listened to the midwife when she told me to pant and stop pushing. His head was off the chart but his shoulders were the hardest bit.

inadreamworld Wed 05-Dec-12 18:27:03

I still have that perinium oil left from last pregnancy (DD only 19 months so hopefully it hasn't gone mouldy if indeed oil can go mouldy...). Anyway will start using it asap!

5madthings Wed 05-Dec-12 18:28:49

Firstly scans are often wrong.

Secondly you have birthed vaginakly before and thirdky my ds4 had a head circumference of 42cm whrn born. This is off the top of the chart! He was 10lb 13oz and had him in a birth pool, labour was less than An hour and i didnt even graze!

Hormonalhell Wed 05-Dec-12 18:33:57

I had a growth scan at 32 weeks and they told me my baby's head is fairly big too. I just thought its because it's a boy as DS had a big head when born and got slightly squashed. DD head was small and round.

DyeInTheEar Thu 06-Dec-12 13:37:38

5madthings 10lb 13oz - I have no words. smile

rudbekia Sun 09-Dec-12 15:51:33

Dd, my first, was born a week late weighing in at 8lbs 6 but her head was actually off the scale in terms of size.....I did end up with ventouse delivery in the end with an episiotomy which my GP, at the six week check, said she wasn't surprised about looking at the size of the top of my babe's head. But I really wouldn't panic - you'll either do fine on your own or if you do need a bit of intervention that's also no bad thing. I am on the petite size though!

inadreamworld Sun 09-Dec-12 17:19:18

Thanks Rudbekia - you are right, a ventouse/forceps wouldn't be the end of the world. Would prefer to avoid a c-section if at all possible, the thought of being cut open (!!!) also the recovery period...ugh. Think C section unlikely though so will keep fingers crossed (but not legs crossed lol)

sparklekitty Mon 10-Dec-12 15:08:42

Don't let it worry you too much. A 36 week scan had my dd head on 98th and they said if she went to term shed be well over 10lbs (my dh is very tall too so easy to believe) I went 4 days over and she was 8lbs 3. She did end up a bit stuck but that was nothing to do with her size or head.

Flisspaps Mon 10-Dec-12 15:43:45

5mad I take my hat off to you, DS was 11lb 7oz but his head was 'only' 40.5cm.

I did end up with spinal/forceps though, but that's because he was lying incredibly awkwardly and there were suspicions that he was transverse when I arrived at hospital after pushing for 4 hours. However, even his birth was FAR nicer than 8lb 2oz DD's.

Flisspaps Mon 10-Dec-12 15:44:22

No tearing with DS either, I had an episiotomy but I had one with DD too, and that extended into a 3a tear.

DyeInTheEar Sat 15-Dec-12 11:04:33

inadream I had him yesterday! I went almost 14 days over and he was 97% at my previous scan - and weighed in at 10lbs10. I did struggle to get him out as was very tired after having a couple of ill DCs to look after during the previous weeks and it was a longer labour than number 2. But I didn't tear or get cut and just have a small graze thanks to a brilliant MW who had to manually help him out after I'd got head out - but that was because I was a knackered and my pushing was a bit feeble by then. So no forceps, ventouse or stitches. And I had all three with number 1 who was much smaller at 7lb13.

My MW did say I shouldn't have been allowed to go over as my the placenta wasn't in great shape - in spite this being checked and OK'd a couple of times. So if your growth scans are showing you're measuring big don't be scared of having that conversation.

I was in the pool which helped a lot. Good Luck - I hope it all goes well.

WinkyWinkola Sat 15-Dec-12 11:13:28

Ds3 was 10lbs 4ozs at birth with an enormous head. Midwives went very quiet when they saw his head!

If (and that's a big if), your baby does have a big head, try to labour upright and forward like kneeling and leaning forward on a bed. This can open up your pelvis by up to 30% more.

Good luck. You can do this!

inadreamworld Sat 15-Dec-12 18:10:01

DyeInTheEar Congratulations!!! 10lbs10!!!! Wow. Your bump must have been measuring big too surely. I was measuring only 34 when I was 35 and a half weeks - was just the scan at 34 weeks showed the head was on the large size. Will definitely agree to be induced if I go overdue. Well done on pushing him out and congratulations again!!!!

inadreamworld Sat 15-Dec-12 18:10:27

on the large side

Emsyboo Mon 17-Dec-12 13:03:06

My DS was 98percentile head measurement first baby had slight tear no episiotomy or intervention and was ok but then I had no idea he would be so big blissful ignorance!
I am sure if they aren't concerned you have nothing to worry about perhaps mention it in delivery do they can keep a closer eye on your progress. Do you know what your first DC was in percentile?
Good luck x

inadreamworld Tue 22-Jan-13 08:47:05

Hi this is the OP.....smileJust in case anyone reads this in the future and has the same worry. DD2 was born a few days ago - 4 hour labour, got to hospital fully dilated (and just in time) - she weighed 7 lb 1 oz so not a big baby and they said her head measured average/smallish!! 3 pushes and she was out. I did have a 2nd degree tear but it is healing up fine, no issues. Shows how wrong the scan was and how I was worrying for nothing!!!

Macarooned Tue 22-Jan-13 09:11:48

Congratulations inadream! And welcome mini inadream.

Glad all went so well, thanks for reporting back. Enjoy you're newborn snuggles gringrin

mayhew Tue 22-Jan-13 09:38:20

Lovely to hear all went well. A typical 2nd baby, quick no fuss delivery. interesting how far out the prediction was! What was the head circumference?

inadreamworld Tue 22-Jan-13 14:42:48

Not sure if head circ written anywhere on the notes I have mayhew I just remember them laughing at me when I asked if it was big and they said no normal and on the small side....will have a look and see if I can find out.

inadreamworld Tue 22-Jan-13 22:59:25

mayhew head circ was 34cm. Found the hospital notes in DD2s Red Book.

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