Grand Multipara Birth



This is an online conversation that I had with a grand multip (woman who has given birth more than 5 times). There are special things about birth after the fifth baby. . . for instance, sometimes the process can be stop and start for days and, then, suddenly. . . here’s the baby. There is nothing wrong with that way of birthing but, because large families are relatively rare, many practitioners lose faith and patience and brand the woman as “failure to progress”.

Another unique thing about women carrying a fifth or more baby is that they are prone to what midwives call the “blue right leg syndrome”. It can be alarming to see how blue the right leg becomes in pregnancy but, then, the baby is out and the woman’s right leg looks just fine again. I like to read things by the midwives in the USA who serve religious groups with big families. Lots of little anecdotes like that.


Hi Gloria,
I am wondering if you could answer a couple things for me.
I was reading your post about the 30 Minute Third Stage, and saw your comment about the anti-bleed tea. I’m curious to know more about this.
I understood that shepherd’s purse was not to be used until after the placenta was delivered, and that it was dangerous to use it before.
I see that one of the ingredients for your anti-bleed tea is shepherd’s purse. Can you share with me how it differs in the tea, as opposed to using the tincture? Also, is this safe to use as a grand multip? This is my 10th baby, 14th pregnancy.
I tend to bleed a fair bit with my births, and I am trying to be prepared this time, (due in August) and read and research things that I could/should try to have on hand, especially in case my attendant doesn’t make it here on time. I tend to go quickly, and feel a strong need to be prepared this time.
Thank you for any input you are willing to share (smile emoticon). Caroline

TUES 22:35
Hi Caroline, One of the things with grand multips that really helps prevent bleeding is going for a 1/2 hour brisk walk (edited for clarity–a daily walk in pregnancy). One of my clients found some research on it and it really seems to work. I don’t know why. As far as the shepherd’s purse, no one can really do studies on these herbs and their use after a birth. We worry more about after pains with grand multips. Therefore we give a cramp bark /cinnamon tea. A couple of things that I’ve seen lately that interest me for the after pains are 1. Increasing magnesium supplementation after the birth. 2. Emptying the bladder more often than you think you need to. Just get up and pee if it’s been a while and don’t wait till you feel like pee’ing. Apparently these 2 things are very helpful for cramps. Thank you for writing. I’d love you to have a smooth, relaxed birth. Gloria

Thank you so very much for your time!!
These are some very interesting points.

I’m curious for a little more information on the brisk walk. Is this something your recommend in labor? Or for the days leading up to birth?

I feel so much peace about our upcoming birth. Much more so than I’ve felt with any of the others. But I also am loving to learn as much as I can about birth as a whole, and things that could be useful for my own as well.
Thank you again. Caroline

You’re very welcome, Caroline. I mean a walking program starting NOW. I never ask women to walk when they are in the birth process. I’m afraid they will hit me! ha ha. You’ll know what you want to do when having the baby, it’s the preparation that’s important. By a walk I mean a brisk walk with no kids, no purse, flat shoes and really walking as fast as you can. Gloria

Gloria, Thank you! I will start doing that today. ?

I am soaking up as much information as I can.

I also have to say that I love following your page and reading on your site. So much information that has been so useful.
Thank you for everything you do!!
Makes me wish I was in Canada and could meet you! Caroline

That’s very sweet of you. You are exactly the woman I am writing for, so many people just can’t “get” what I’m trying to communicate.

I am loving the learning! I have been trying to dig as deep as I can, and find as many different ideas and perspectives as I can. I’m always thrilled when I find new perspective that makes sense!
Will you be offering your online class again in the future? I would be very interested in taking part, if you do.

Added: Another tip I will give to grand multips. When you have lots of older children, they ALL want to hold the new baby. This gets to be a competition and a struggle and it could be a reason why the mother might bleed too much. Explain to the entire family like this: “It’s very important that Mommy has the baby on her skin for the first day of the baby’s life. That helps Mommy’s body to change over from being pregnant to being a nursing mother. If we want Mommy to stay at home and be healthy, we are ALL going to wait until the baby is 24 hours old before we take turns holding the baby.” In most families, the kids really understand this and they don’t mind so much not holding the baby as long as no one else is either.

15 thoughts on “Grand Multipara Birth

  1. I’m a Grand Multi- 9 pregnancies, 7 live births. All health providers treat my uterus as an unexploded canon, it’s ridiculous. Nature works.

  2. What I have learned/experienced as a grand multip is the dissipation of fear. I don’t go into my birth experiences with any fear of pain… I prepare, I work hard to be healthy and ready – but then it’s just a trust of my body and the process. Perhaps people reach this place without needing 6 babies to do it… but not me. I was a NICU born baby and separated from my twin for months – with every birth and every baby I gather back more of my primal motherhood and primal instincts. This body and I know how to communicate with each other, we are finally seamed together.

    Practically speaking, I’ve learned that I push before transition is done because I hate it so much. But I know when baby is ready even if I want it to be sooner. Herbs and acupuncture are my best friends.

    I am so blessed.

  3. I’ve had 6 babies (#7 due this fall)…my first 4 were c-sections, my last two were HBA4C. I’ve learned several things. First and foremost, that my body is not a lemon…even if my former OB tells me that it’s too risky for me to “attempt” a vaginal birth starting with my 3rd pregnancy. Just because a person in a white jacket with lots of certificates on the wall says something is fact, doesn’t make it fact. Sure, my first HBA4C lasted 93 hours (not a typo), a huge part of that was due to my own fear. I was vocalizing through the contractions, but I had every muscle in my body clenched at all times. On top of that, I had adhesions ALL over my cervix due to my OB manually dilating me to a 5 with each csection (apparently that’s a common practice)…which lead to my midwife having to massage them out as we found them…during contractions…NOT fun. But my baby was born beautiful and healthy and at home…totally worth it. My 2HBA4C lasted 19 hours start to finish, huge improvement…and I discovered that vocalizing through contractions is bad for me. It made me focus too much on my contractions…I did better breathing and trying to maintain a restful/sleeping look and feel, trying to remain loose and relaxed. It was awesome. Afterpains…I have no words…I thought I was having a surprise twin about to make a debut, but it was short lived.

    I’ve learned how to trust my body, and trust natural things above modern medicine. My husband actually told me that I looked more beautiful than any other time since he’s known me while I was in labor with our 5th child 🙂 He said it just looked so natural…who’d have thought? My babies all love finding out we’re adding another baby…what’s not to love?! Sure, I mull over the same fears in my head with each pregnancy, but I know I can do it and my body can handle it. We were made for this! And somehow or another, by the time labor starts, I have worked through all my fears and am even stronger than the last time. It’s kinda awesome learning to trust in your body again instead of relying on the white coats to tell you what’s going on.

  4. I just delivered number 11. Third time members ruptured without contractions, baby 6, 8, and 11. All those pregnancies were surrounded by an extremely stressful pregnancy, husband gone, dad on hospice, major life changes. Number 6 we were able to deliver at home after membranes had been ruptured over 30 hours. Number 8 was er transport when I got fever after 30 hours and baby heart rate elevated. Baby 11 after 30 hours no contractions it took 8 hours of pit (I do not recommend this route 😉 before baby. The Dr just new that my uterus would be horrible afterwards and was shocked when it was nice and firm. She asked what I did. Baby 7, 9, and 10 were amazing healthy pregnancies and beautiful births. Baby 7 I labored 2 hours with mild contractions 2 nights in a row. On third night I labored 2 1/2 hours and he was there. Baby 9 took a few hours contractions never got closer than 10 minutes apart , mild and felt one good one that brought me to complete and delivery in minutes. Baby 10 was about a 5 hour easy labor. Each one has been so different. For me the lesson I see is pregnancy tells me what kind of labor to expect. When I have healthy strong pregnancies , I have amazing labors. With stress my body falls apart and labor goes downhill.

    • Thankyou. I am about to have baby number 8, and I have been staying. My last labor was painful and an experience that I do not want to repeat. Reading your statement I can affirm that it was a very stressful time during the pregnancy and this time has been much more peaceful. Looking forward to a more pleasant experience.

  5. I agree with the above poster…having so much ‘practice’ birthing reduces fear and I too don’t see it as painful anymore. I was able to surrender to the process a lot faster with my 6th than with the first. I know what aspects of my birth process need support…when baby is crowning for eg. I tend to almost faint when standing up for the first time after. I too take every pregnancy seriously, be healthy, work through the fears that arise. So true about the siblings….I let them hold the last baby way too much in the early days. Made him and me a bit unsettled. It’s so hard to get true rest after birth when having a larger family.

  6. I am expecting my ninth this fall. I have had two hospital births and six home births, one unassisted. My seventh and eighth labors were very different from the others, never getting regular. I would have a contraction, then another in five minutes, then fifteen, then ten, then three… all the way up to birth. My afterpains were the worst after my third child, and ever since I have sworn by WishGarden’s AfterEase tincture, which is crampbark and other good stuff.

  7. I birthed 7 babies (including a set of twins #5 & #6) and had 5 miscarriages. I read everything I could get my hands on in Libraries & bookstores back in 1989! I was fortunate to have arrived at the hospital 1 hour before the baby was born! I didn’t think I was in labour as I was never in pain. I have EDS & severe IBS (under control, most of the time), so I was ready for “pain”, but only once did I feel “Oh, hey that hurt a wee bit”. Baby was +2 station when the Dr. checked me. I had 2 more in the hospital, all unmedicated & home in less than 24 hours. My 4th was at home, another 1 hour birth, only this time it was painful! Posterior baby! My twins were born in the hospital, again unmedicated & home the same day. #7 was born at home, like his older brother! My children are 12-26 now! My oldest had her son in my bed (where my son was born)! She felt she would be comfortable in a hospital for her next birth & so was her partner (my daughter is a nurse & birthed at the hospital where she works part-time & had her placement in Labour & Delivery!). She is now due with her 3rd!

  8. I can identify. I am a Great-Grand and I have attended 4 “Great-Grands” this year. One her midwife dropped her care, because baby was breech at 31 weeks… 9 previous births….pretty sure she can handle a breech. SIGH… There is so many things wrong with a midwife dropping a woman due to breech. 1. Breech is a variation of normal. 2. A great grand will NOT have any issues with a breech. 3. If a midwife is not ready for a known breech, it’s possible she isn’t ready for an unexpected breech, and maybe needs more time as an apprentice. 4. Baby can turn at ANYTIME! Grands have more space and our babies are often mobile (not engaged) until WELL into labor! SO she could NOT be persistently breech at 31 weeks, NOT possible. I could continue about the ethics of her deciding/controlling/knowing more than the mother but I’ll save that for another post 😉

  9. This brings so much peace to me. My last two births and current baby we are anticipating any day (currently 40+3) have been so confusing. Prodromal labor, start and stop, confusing mixed signals.
    I am at peace especially with this baby, perhaps the most confusing for me of all.

  10. I’ve noticed a big difference in my births if there has been a lot of stress during the pregnancy or not. In fact, my body doesn’t even want to go into labor until I feel calm and peaceful. I’ve had five babies (9 pregnancies) and am in early pregnancy now. I’m enjoying reading this as, indeed, it does seem hard to find information on changes that may be there after more births have occurred. 1 hospital, 4 home births. My 4th and 5th births I felt so confident, knew exactly where I was in labor and birth, when to push, finally “caught” my own baby with baby #5.

  11. I am a midwife and have to say, I adore working with women who have many children. These women are confident and smart. I am a pretty hands off midwife and love watching these Mamas and hubby do the labor dance while I quietly sit in a corner. I am not afraid of breeches either. You ladies rock!

  12. I’m a grand multip pregnant for the 9th time, 8th birth. I had a miscarriage at 17w in 2011.
    I’m wondering how common precipitous labor/birth is? I’ve never labored more than 6 hours, always have 4-6 weeks prodromal labor, and my last baby came literally 20 minutes after I texted my mom and husband that I might be in labor. I had a lot of bowel activity that morning, and just didn’t recognize it as labor until that point.
    Thank you for your work to help birthing mother’s everywhere.

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