Most of the time, being a young woman is a blessing. We can shop in the junior department and wear high heels without standing out. We are generally seen as cute and brave. We also tend to look younger than our ages.
But sometimes, being little can be overwhelming. It’s hard to find clothes that fit correctly (we don’t all want to dress like teenagers!) It’s hard to reach for big things and see over people. It’s easy to be criticized and treated like a child.
Another time when being small and small can be problematic is during pregnancy. Young women face unique challenges that other pregnant women may or may not meet. Here are some of those challenges.
1. BE TREATED LIKE A CHILD
The youthful appearance typical to young women may work against them during labor. Service providers, nurses, and other medical staff cannot take them seriously or treat them like adults. They can be patronizing, bossy, or wholly ignored. Okay, that happens to other women too, and that’s unacceptable.
A woman in labor must have autonomy and control over her experience, no matter what she – or she – is. It’s a good idea to have a plan of action if you’re treated with disrespect. Make sure that someone on your delivery team, such as your partner or doula, is designated as your advocate so that you can focus on delivering your baby.
Watch for signs of a rude or demanding provider during pregnancy. Do your homework when choosing your place of birth. This does not guarantee that you will not have any problems, but it will reduce the likelihood of it happening.
2. BEING LABELED TOO SMALL FOR A VAGINAL BIRTH
Healthcare professionals often tell petite women that they are too short of delivering vaginally, especially if the baby is large or labor has stopped. They should opt for a cesarean section because it is safer. The number of women who have a very narrow pelvis is small and has nothing to do with body size. The condition is called cephalopelvic disproportion (CPD).
Ultrasounds cannot determine the baby’s size and can cause providers to tell women, whether small or not, that their babies are more significant than they are. A mother always puts the safety of her baby first and may decide to choose the unnecessary surgery. It’s important to remember that cesarean sections also come with risks. The risks of all delivery options must be known appropriately and weighed to make the best decision for your situation.
Even though small women have big babies, that doesn’t mean they can’t expel them through the vagina, even without intervention. The Big Baby Project has documented evidence of women of all sizes who have given birth to giant babies.
For women whose labor is interrupted, there are several ways to advance work, such as trying new birthing positions to open your pelvis and tilt it better.
3. HAVE SHORTER PREGNANCIES
A recent case study found that height is a factor in pregnancy length, and shorter women tend to have shorter pregnancies. This can lead to premature babies and other complications. Before you go crazy, remember that height is only one of the dozens of factors that affect how long you are pregnant and how tall your baby is.
You cannot change your height, so be concerned about the factors you control to ensure a healthy pregnancy and childbirth.
4. BEING WATCHED FOR WEIGHT GAIN
Small women are generally advised to gain more weight during pregnancy (28 to 40 pounds / 13 to 18 kg) than their average weight colleagues (25 to 35 pounds / 11 to 16 kg). Providers can monitor these women’s weight more carefully to make sure they are gaining enough to avoid premature births or underweight babies.
It is essential to consider pre-pregnancy weight, BMI, genetics, and health conditions, among others. Ensure the provider knows all the facts about you so that you receive accurate, personalized advice on how much weight to gain.
5. FIND MATERNITY CLOTHES
Finding clothes like a petite woman is hard enough without being pregnant. Adding a round belly can make it even more difficult. Many maternity styles are designed for average height women and can be extra long or wide for short women.
Some petite styles do not work for women who are getting plumper than other moms. However, I think it’s safe to say that shopping for clothes is a frustrating endeavor for almost any woman – pregnant or not, tall or short.
The only good thing is that petite women can wear their regular clothes for more extended and buy normal clothes in larger sizes instead of shopping in the maternity section. It’s worth a try!
6. FEEL LIKE THE BABY IS CRUSHED INSIDE
Lack of space for the baby to stretch can make a petite woman feel like her baby is tight inside. The baby’s feet can be sunk into the mother’s ribs, and she can carry the baby very high. This positioning prevents him from breathing completely.
The good news is that this can be quickly resolved with a visit to the chiropractor. Once you are correctly aligned, you should feel more spacious inside and breathe more deeply. However, don’t just practice. Ensure the chiropractor is trained in the Webster Technique, which is explicitly designed for pregnant women. It can even help transform pelvic babies.
7. IT LOOKS LIKE A BEACH BALL
Since petite women are tiny and small, there isn’t much room for their bodies’ changes. A Baby’s tummy, bigger breasts, and overall weight gain can make a little mom look as round as a beach ball.
While she can get relatively thin, her growing belly may appear more prominent and attract even more unwanted contact from strangers than usual. If her stomach isn’t getting too big, she may receive insensitive comments about not feeling uncomfortable or pregnant.
8. BEING MISTAKEN FOR A TEENAGE MOM
A petite woman is more likely to be mistaken for being younger than she is, especially from behind when her face is not visible. She can even be considered a teenager. If people assume that she is a teenage mother, they might not treat her with the same respect they would treat a pregnant woman who they think is old enough to be a mother.
That said, real teenage mothers shouldn’t be treated this way either. Getting pregnant is hard enough without additional judgment and negativity from strangers!