Kristy Harris from the Gold Coast in Austrailia was told to schecuedle a C-section for her first baby- not because of health complications, but because she's overweight.
Weighing about 17 stone, Kristy maintains that she had an active and healthy pregnancy. Despite having no blood pressure issues, she claims that her hospital tried to bully her into have an unnecessary C-section.
“They told me I fell into the obese category and they wanted me to see an anaesthetist because they said I was high risk and would need a caesarean. They even booked me into an appointment with an anaesthetist and when I didn’t go the hospital called and asked me several times why I didn’t go,” Kristy told Kidspot.
She was told that her weight put her at higher risk for pre-clampsia, this information shocked Kristy.
“I knew this wasn’t the case. I was shocked. I know I am a bigger person, but I am not huge, and I know there are a lot bigger women out there who have had a baby," she recalled.
"It was quite scary when you know yourself and know you are designed to have a baby and you are told won’t be possible. A caesarean is a scary thought and overwhelming prospect for me. There are quite a lot of risks associated with it."
Kristy was determined to have a vaginal birth and even took a hypnobirthing course.
However, at 36 weeks, doctors again began to pressure her into having a C-section.
“It caused unnecessary stress and fear and stirred up unnecessary doubt in myself. Self-confidence is so important when you are having a baby.”
She went into labour two days before her due date. Despite feeling that she was ready to give birth, medical staff at the hospital told her that she was hours away from giving birth.
“I was told all the rooms were full. I convinced them to check me and they found I was 10cm dilated.”
The midwife was still filling out paper work when Kristy gave birth in the shower with only her partner assisting her.
Professor of Midwifery, Hannah Dahlen told Kidspot that without other medical complications it was far safer for larger women to have a natural birth than a C-section.
“Being overweight or obese is not an indication for a caesarean. They are at higher risk of complications such as blood clots by having a caesarean.
"Unfortunately, instead of individualising health for women, we overgeneralise. It makes no sense to recommend a caesarean,” she explained.
However she recommended that overweight women take particular care during pregnancy not to put on excess weight.
“Try to get to a healthy weight before pregnancy, get as healthy as you can, have continuity of care, keep upright and mobile during labour and have a good diet,”she recommends.
As for Kristy, she is now urging other larger women to be informed and not to be afraid to trust their own bodies during pregnancy.