What risks does a mother take having lots of babies? The risks of high parity and the way to keep your health.
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I am a great grand multigravida mom.  This means I’ve given birth to seven or more children.  Twelve actually.  Believe it or not, I’m still standing and am capable of having more.  People think I’m built for having babies.  Perhaps.  I’d like to think it’s because I’m doing my best to take good care of myself.

There are many ‘risks’ involved with having multiple children.  If you’re willing to work a little bit then the risks aren’t really a consideration when thinking of having more children.

Abnormal Fetal Presentation

This is typically caused by either a lack of abdominal muscle tone or uterine muscle tone (uterine atony).

Understandably, your abdominal muscles can get a little taxed.  Some women even experience diastasis recti (DR), also known as abdominal muscle separation.  There are many websites out there that can help you with either condition.  Fit2b is a well known website that is DR friendly.  As there are exercises out there that can make your DR worse, this website focuses on exercises that will help your abdominal wall pull back together.

Keeping your body in good physical shape is necessary to good health, pregnant with #1 or #12.  I recommend doing whatever exercise you are inclined to do.  Some women like running, others aerobics.  I know that it’s sometimes hard to get out there but you just need to do it!  I’m experiencing that lack of drive right now myself.  But, if you want to have lots of children it’s important you do what you can right now to insure your good health.  Every little bit helps!

Uterine atony can be helped by keeping your core in good shape and by drinking raspberry leaf tea.  As this is a muscle you can’t really exercise the tea helps exercise it by causing it to lightly contract itself.  You can drink the tea whether pregnant or not.  It’s actually quite helpful for PMS symptoms, particularly for the pain of cramps.

Rapid Delivery

This ‘side effect’ of being multi gravida (if you’re lucky enough to have it), can’t really be helped, at least not to my knowledge.  After having a few children your uterus and cervix just know what to do.  I tend to have prodomal labors but once active labor kicks in for me things happen pretty quickly.  I’ve gone from 1 cm to complete in one hour before.

Also, if you’ve had a few children, the 2nd stage of labor (the pushing stage) is also quicker.  Again, your body has done this before and knows what to do.  Of course, all of this is contingent on you having had vaginal deliveries as ceserean deliveries are obviously different forms of birth!  The only time I can think of where this stage wouldn’t be quicker would be if your baby is positioned very unusually, as in a face presentation.

Hemorrhage

Hemorrhage occurs for a number of reasons.  There are a few preventative keys you and your care provider can follow to help eliminate your risks.

First off, good prenatal nutrition and supplements are extremely important.  A healthy mother has a much better chance of staying healthy after the birth than a mother that starts off unhealthy.  Just plain commonsense there!  The vitamins I recommend are Garden of Life raw prenatals.  I buy mine off Amazon.  I also take daily supplements of alfalfa (iron), red raspberry leaf tea, nettles (I put this in my tea), and Kombucha for my gut flora.  I try to eat a low sugar, high protein diet (with a little dark chocolate on the side for sanity’s sake!). Keeping your supplements kept up will also help avoid uterine atony as your body will be going into labor healthy and strong.  It’s not an absolute, of course, but it’s important to do all you can to be healthy.

You also want to get your blood checked to make sure it is healthy.  How is your iron, hemoglobin, platelet count, etc.?  In order for blood to clot properly after birth it is important to have healthy blood to start out with.

Thirdly, it’s important to allow the birth of your placenta to not be rushed.  This is something you need to work out with your care provider in advance.  Make sure they understand that you don’t want your cord tugged on and you want to allow nature to take it’s course.  There are a few instances where the care provider may need to remove the placenta manually due to over bleeding or just taking too long.  But, in most cases, your body will know what to do.  Allowing it to happen will help the chances of hemorrhage be decreased.

If hemorrhage does occur, your care provider will have medication and/or herbal remedies that will help stop the bleeding.

Higher Body Mass Index

Having lots of children increases your chances of being overweight.  That’s just the way it is.  I always gain 30-50 pounds with each baby and only lose 10-12 within six weeks postpartum.  You just have to work on it.

Eat low sugar, high protein and find some form of exercise you like.  Don’t starve yourself though as your baby is relying on you for her vitamins, nutrients and calories, whether you’re breastfeeding now or preparing your body for your next baby.

There are a lot of exercise and diet programs out there that work.  I’ve used the South Beach Diet, Trim Healthy Mama, Body for Life For Women, Atkins, and even a low fat diet (I don’t recommend this one, however).  All have their attributes, except the last one, that is.  You just need to find the one that resonates with you and your lifestyle.

Having extra weight increases your chances of having complications as well.  Overweight/obese women have a higher chance of postpartum hemorrhage, preterm delivery, gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, macrosomia, gestational hypertension, and cesarean section, just to name a few.

Uterine Rupture

The most common risk factor for uterine rupture is a previous c-section scar.  This can potentially be a weakened area of your uterus susceptible to rupture.

Some say high parity is also a risk factor for uterine rupture.  However, after further research I found it to be hardly a concern for the average mom of many.  In the US, uterine rupture varies between 1 out of every 8,000-15,000 births.  The majority of them involved a scarred uterus, whether from c-section or other uterine surgery.  Rupture of an unscarred uterus was even more rare though at 1 of every 17,000-20,000 deliveries.

In Conclusion

I believe that if a mother does her best to take good care of herself she will be able to have many children.  There are many factors involved with this, of course.  But, if a woman does what she can she greatly increases the likelihood that she stays healthy during her fertile years.

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