Diabetes and Big Babies

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Now that I am approaching the end of my pregnancy, I’m mad.  In the Diabetes Online Community, we spent a lot of time talking about diabetes stigma and the differences and similarities between the different types.  But one thing that isn’t talked about much is the stigma surrounding diabetes and pregnancy.  The default go-to is that if you have poorly controlled diabetes you will have a big baby.  This makes me so mad.

Last week, I had a pregnancy scare.  I had intense pain in my right side (after feeling a ton of pelvic pressure the day before mixed with some stomach issues).  Of course, my OB was out of the office that day but the nurse told me I should come in right away and so I ended up seeing a different doctor.  I was NOT a fan of this guy.  He looked at my stomach and told me that I was really big and that I was really pregnant, no kidding buddy! He then consults my chart and sees that I am diabetic and he goes on to tell me that poorly controlled diabetics have big babies so I must not have good control of my diabetes.

If you want to make a pregnant T1D mad, that is definitely the thing to say.  I was so livid.  I have spent the past 31 weeks stressing every minute of every day about my blood sugars and carb counting.  I hired a CDE on retainer, costing me almost $1000 out of pocket so that I could email her every week and make adjustments to my blood sugars.  I had an A1C of 5.4 last time I got blood work done and that’s even better than some non-diabetics! You want to tell me that because my son is measuring 2 weeks ahead, you can make the blanket statement that I don’t have good control of my diabetes without even knowing my history of how this pregnancy is going?!

As if that wasn’t bad enough, he continued to talk!  My regular OB had made a comment in my chart that I wanted to try for a VBAC.  The substitute doctor told me that based on my baby’s size, he would not recommend a VBAC; he would recommend another c-section and that he thinks the baby should come no later than week 38.  First off, I didn’t ask him his thoughts.  My regular OB and my high-risk OB are monitoring my pregnancy and they will advise me on what’s best when the time comes.  My first came at week 38 so I am sort of thinking that is what will happen this time around but if I can go to week 40, I really want to try to.  At my last regular OB appointment, she told me that as long as my blood sugars were looking OK, we could try for week 40.  This was music to my ears because with my previous pregnancy, they didn’t want me to go past week 39.

Luckily, all was OK with baby.  Cervix was closed and the doctor thought I had just pulled a muscle.  Not surprising since I have to carry my 33 pound toddler around!  However, my interaction with the doctor is only one example of the stigma with diabetes and having a big baby.

I see it in my diabetes and pregnancy Facebook groups.  One girl commented that her baby was measuring 28% and she said, “Take that diabetes!”  I was so upset over her comment (thanks pregnancy hormones) because my baby is measuring 95% but I could also say take that diabetes because my last A1C was 5.4.  Why does she think she is combating diabetes because her baby isn’t measuring as big?  Why is having a big baby seen as such a bad thing?!  Also in my T1D and pregnancy Facebook group, people are always asking the question about how big was your baby and a lot of comments are on how their babies are bigger.

My sister and I were big babies and we were girls.  My cousins, who are boys, were both over 10 pounds and born to non-diabetics.  My husband is also a big guy and my first son was almost 11 pounds.  I really think having a big baby is just in my genetics.  Maybe diabetes plays a part somehow but it’s not because of my blood sugars since my blood sugars are that of a non-diabetics.  I don’t think I could have a small baby no matter what I did.  If I wasn’t diabetic, I would most likely still have a 10 pounder.  I wish instead of people being afraid about having a big baby or making comments about how big the baby is, they would just think wow you are a really comforting vessel for a baby to grow big and healthy in.  Why is having a big baby not a good thing?  I provide such a good home for my baby that he is able to thrive in my belly.  Why are T1Ds so afraid to have a big baby (I guess besides the whole having to give birth to a big baby)?

At my 31 week growth scan with the high-risk OB, my baby was measuring 4.5 pounds.  That is in the 95%.  Some people give birth the 5 pound babies so the fact my guy is almost there is pretty shocking.  However, he is thriving in his environment.  I am doing everything possible to have a health pregnancy and a healthy baby.  I don’t need some doctor telling me how I’m going to give birth to a toddler.  I need a doctor to tell me that I’m doing a good job.

Here is my big guy yawning during the ultrasound, apparently we were interrupting his nap :-P

Here is my big guy yawning during the ultrasound, apparently we were interrupting his nap 😛

10 thoughts on “Diabetes and Big Babies

  1. Oh Kelley – that doctor sounds like an ass! I am so sorry, I would have been livid too – I just love it when doctors make assumptions and blanketed statements (NOT). There are so many things that go into baby size – genetis for one as you mentioned, but also a lot of random stuff! For instance, I have an anterior placenta (in the front, between baby and my belly, as opposed to posterior, which is more common) Anterior is also normal but less common, and I read that women with anterior placenta are more likely to have large babies! I am already imagining the possibility if having to “defend” my control if I happen to have an above-average size baby. It is so frustrating – some doctors are really good, but others really put me in defense mode from the diabetes perspective. Hugs! You have a great, non-diabetic A1C. I know it sucks to work so hard and have that questioned by professionals though. Not much longer and you will have your “prize” at the end of this long road mama!! That picture is so cute by the way – he looks a lot like C 🙂

  2. Oh my gosh. I totally feel your pain. I had gestational diabetes with my first, who was 8 lbs 9 oz, and I was diagnosed with Type 1 when he was 1 year old. So, with baby #2 I was high risk the WHOLE time. So much anxiety and so many doctor’s appointments. My A1C was also wonderful (below 6 the whole time) and my daughter ended up being 9 lbs 13oz! My son had to be in the NICU for 3 days because of low blood sugar (I think my diabetes wasn’t as well controlled when I was pregnant because I wasn’t taught to correct, just on a strict plan). But my daughter’s blood sugar was totally fine. She measured “big” the whole pregnancy and they kept scaring me and trying to induce early, or even plan a c-section. I finally got induced around 38 1/2 weeks because I was starting to dilate (and getting REALLY uncomfortable). Anyway, I’m rambling, but I totally agree with you. So much blame and guilt at a time when you are doing EVERYTHING you can to have a healthy baby. Hang in there, try to ignore the doctors that piss you off, and best of luck with everything! I am sure this boy will be healthy and happy. Bigger babies are easier to take care of anyway! 🙂

  3. Ugh I just got so frustrated and angry for you while reading your post. Seriously, doctors can be so insensitive and such jerks! You’re doing amazing! I can only hope that my a1c control is as good as yours when I’m pregnant. And who cares how big or small a baby is, as long as they’re healthy and thriving!

  4. I hear you! My baby girl was 8 lb, 5 oz at birth after I was in the hospital for two days constantly getting fluids. My OB said after she was born “She’s doing great now that she’s out of that sugar soup!” I told him that isn’t fair and that I had great control of my diabetes during pregnancy, but really I wanted to punch him in the face. I think the big babies are WAY cuter than the little skinny ones…BIG IS BEAUTIFUL 🙂

  5. I straight up would have slapped him! How dare he. He doesn’t know you, your situation or your plan. My best friend who also gets the stigma for being a small Asian, gave birth to a 10 lb healthy boy naturally without gestational diabetes. Big babies come in all mom sizes. Good for you for being so proactive in your child’s life, care and health!

  6. I think uneducated doctors are more common than many of us believe could happen. An MD gives one the right to practice medicine not the good sense to do so.

    I referred your blog to the TUDiabetes blog page for the week of May 30, 2016.

  7. It’s so frustrating to work so hard and still get the constant lectures. I can’t even imagine when you add all the pressure of a T1D pregnancy! You’re clearly rocking it, and he was obviously saying the first thing that came to mind without thinking. I’m glad that isn’t the case with your usual doctors though!

  8. I had an 11 pounder after a well controlled pregnancy. She’s average baby size for my family, so it’s in the genes. But one of the docs said the blond highlights her hair meant it was due to T1d. Sounds like rumor mill, not medicine.
    Also, there’s something really strong to be said for the fact that big babies are easier to take care of.

  9. Hi Kelley. I just want to say how much I appreciate your blog and all the personal details you share about your T1 pregnancies. I’m currently almost 34 weeks and everything was going smooth until my last ultrasound about a week ago…baby gained 2.5 lbs in a month and now in the 93rd percentile. My endocrinologist is great and made me feel like I am doing every I can do but the ultrasound tech and my regular OB made me feel like a horrible diabetic. Diabetic guilt is the worst especially since we are paying people to make changes to pump settings and sometimes the changes are not significant enough. I wish I was an expert at tweaking my settings–I’ve starting to tweak them more myself but I look back on the past month and just feel guilty and regret not making changes to settings myself. I am now getting transferred to my high risk Ob for the rest of pregnancy but I’m hoping they will make me feel supported instead of defeated like a stereotypical “diabetic baby”. I know the most important thing is healthy baby regardless of vaginal birth or c section, but it’s my first baby and the “judgey eyes” of certain providers does not make me feel happy and supported. It’s times this I am thankful for your blog to look at your experiences and know I’m not alone. You have two beautiful boys and I hope you are all happy and healthy! 🙂 thank you!

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