We all want our children to grow big, strong and healthy, and you may have drastically changed your way of life to give your baby the best before he or she enters the world. However, remember that there is such a thing as too big, and if your child's too large, both of you may endure a number of complications during pregnancy and afterward.
Unfortunately, more mothers than ever have been giving birth to overly large babies. WITN recently highlighted Michelle Cessna's baby girl, Addyson, who weighed 13 pounds and 12 ounces when she was born. Rather than swaddling her in newborn clothes, the hospital fitted her with garments meant for a 3-month-old, while the diapers her mother bought in preparation for the event were too small.
Addyson is part of the growing problem of macrosomia in developed countries. Macrosomia is defined as a newborn who has excessive weight, which usually includes any baby who weighs 8 pounds, 13 ounces or more. The Lancet reported that the condition's worldwide frequency has increased by 15 to 25 percent in the past two to three decades. Approximately 10 percent of babies born in the U.S. have macrosomia, although physicians' efforts to combat it may have reversed the trend. In other countries, such as China and Algeria, the rate has risen to 13.8 percent and 15 percent, respectively.
What causes the condition?
Although Michelle told WITN that large babies run in her family, gestational diabetes and obesity can increase the chance of your child developing the condition during fetal development. The mother of Jasleen, the heaviest baby ever born in Germany, was reported to have gestational diabetes by the Guardian. She didn't need a C-section, but the procedure is often required for macrosomic babies.
While doctors used to wait 41 to 43 weeks before inducing birth, they will now perform an induction as early as 39 weeks to prevent a baby from growing too large. These efforts help mothers avoid complications like dystocia, where a child's shoulders are too big to pass by the pubic bone. This can harm both you and your child. Thankfully, this condition is rare.
"This idea of having a bonnie baby, and that being a good thing, is an old wives' tale," Daghni Rajasingam, M.D., consultant obstetrician, told the Guardian. "Babies who are born bigger have a higher risk themselves of being obese, developing diabetes and heart problems. You want an appropriate-sized baby, is the thing."
If your child's born too big, he or she may also have a greater risk for a number of long-term problems, such as obesity and cancer, WITN reported.
Minimizing the chance of having a big baby
So what can you do to reduce the risk of having an overly large baby? The Mayo Clinic suggested that you eat right, exercise and possibly take medication for the condition. According to WITN, if you're managing obesity, then doctors recommend that you try not to gain too much weight.
How big was your baby when he or she was born? Did you have any problems with the delivery? Give us some feedback in the comments below!