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skull-hardening in overdue babies - one for the MWs out there I think...

(20 Posts)
CarolinaMoon Wed 27-Jul-05 10:47:54

Is it possible for the skull bones of a 42 week foetus to be too hard to squeeze through the pelvis, without there being anything "wrong" with skull (like fused bones or similar)?

I saw an old post on here where someone said that happened with their baby (it was Janeybops I think), and I read an article that mentioned it recently.

My ds was born by cs at 42+1 because of arrest of descent - his head didn't move down from zero station in 17 hrs of active labour (I was 9cm by the end) - and I wonder if this is why? There was no obvious malpositioning.

CarolinaMoon Wed 27-Jul-05 16:17:25


oatcake Wed 27-Jul-05 16:21:21

interesting one. I am currently doing my essay on prolonged pregnancy (errr, then why am I on mumsnet....?) and although I've heard anecdotal evidence from qualified colleagues that the fetal skull fuses, I can't find it in any of the textbooks research articles I have in front of me here, right now.

If I find something, I'll get back to you. Or perhaps Mears can join in and give us the benefit of her knowledge...

In your case, was your baby big, cos I'm reading that a lot of the time the baby gets too big to pass down the birth canal...

LittleStarsweeper Wed 27-Jul-05 16:26:57

It doesnt make much sense does it, as I know many mums have used cranial osteopaths who ease the bones into position after a difficult birth.

oatcake Wed 27-Jul-05 16:29:44

check out informedchoice

this site gives pretty unbiased, evidence based research and there is a leaflet on prolonged pregnancy.

CarolinaMoon Wed 27-Jul-05 16:31:27

Thanks Oatcake. He was 9lb 12oz, but that is only 4oz over my own birth weight, and I am quite tall with broad shoulders and hips. His head circumference was on the 50th centile at birth, so it's not that he had a big head.

oatcake Wed 27-Jul-05 16:34:20

ouch! still a good size though [legs clenched tightly together...]

bundle Wed 27-Jul-05 16:35:28

littlestarsweeper, really???

CarolinaMoon Wed 27-Jul-05 16:37:37

Littlestarsweeper, I actually got a cranial osteopath to treat ds - she found a lot of compression in his skull, presumably caused by his skull pressing hard against my pelvis during labour.

Cranial osteopaths can work on older children and adults too, whose skulls definitely aren't as squishy as a newborn's - the changes COs make are more subtle than that I think.

CarolinaMoon Wed 27-Jul-05 18:11:51


oatcake Thu 28-Jul-05 09:13:16

bumping for carolinamoon (and my essay...)

CarolinaMoon Fri 29-Jul-05 01:59:56

bumping for oatcake's essay...

Those leaflets you linked to are really interesting btw, thanks!

moozoboozo Fri 29-Jul-05 02:04:39

Mm, thats interesting, I had never thought of that. My ds was born at 42 weeks, and I had the same prob, where I couldn't progress through the second stage of labour, and after 2 hours of pushing and not getting anywhere, I had to go for a c section (plus, they lost the babies heart beat) Mind you, when DS was born, his head circ was on the 99th centile, and I am only 5ft. OUCH!

mears Fri 29-Jul-05 02:55:13

As a midwife I was taught that post mature babies have skull bones that are less likely to 'mould' as well in labour. Moulding is where the bones partly over-ride each other to enable the head to become smaller to pass through the pelvis. I have to say though I have seen many women deliver without any problems at 42 weeks. Often it is more likely that induction has taken place at that stage of pregnancy. I am not sure whether the problem is more a result of induction than being 42 weeks IYSWIM? More likely to be in a position that is not as upright as it could be because of fetal monitoring.

In theory it could be that the head is larger and less likely to mould. How mobile were you in labour Carolina?

CarolinaMoon Fri 29-Jul-05 04:43:17

I went into labour spontaneously at 40+13. I was completely mobile (mostly standing up) until I got stuck at 6cm. I'd been at 6cm for 4 hours (6hrs after active labour started) when they decided to put in a syntocinon drip and epidural. That was in for about 8-9 hours and I only dilated another 3cm in that time. I even tried to stay sitting upright with the epidural in, as if that would help.

Ds's head didn't engage fully until about 20hrs into pre-labour and there was a real grinding sensation when it did. It had been 1-2/5 engaged for a few weeks before then.

mears Fri 29-Jul-05 17:32:48

I think you will never really know the reason, whether it was due to lack of moulding, poor uterine activity of pelvic disproportion with head. It may well be that if you labour in a subsequent pregnancy you will not have that problem. Sometimes labour isn't efficient first time round.

starlover Fri 29-Jul-05 17:39:43

CM it might be nothing to do with being overdue!
my cousin was early but my aunt still ended up with a c-section after 23 hours of labour due to arrest of descent!
she was 9lb 4

CarolinaMoon Fri 29-Jul-05 18:51:01

Let's hope so Mears! I guess I'll just have to wait and see. In a funny way it puts my mind at rest that you've said I'll never know why it didn't work out the first time. It's been bugging me for 9 months now! I'd hate to think it was something that could have been fixed if the right MW had been there.

oatcake Wed 03-Aug-05 17:52:15

back online after finishing my essay - handing in tomorrow - still found nothing which proves skull fusion but glad your mind's at ease. x

CarolinaMoon Wed 03-Aug-05 18:06:12

Wow Oatcake, when I was a student I don't think I'd ever finished an essay the day before it was due in - probably hadn't even started it .

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