What's the Big Deal About Big Babies?
I'm not going to lie. As a first-time mom, I was concerned about the possibility of having a large baby.
I can’t even imagine what it’s like to have huge babies. Despite being overweight and having gestational diabetes, both of my kids were born a little below the average of 7.5 pounds. My daughter weighed 6 pounds 10 ounces, born naturally at 38 weeks, and my son weighed 7 pounds 4 ounces, born naturally a couple days past his due date. A lot of people assumed I would have large babies, but I managed my blood sugar levels and gained very little pregnancy weight. I did my best to maintain healthy pregnancies and was assured by my OB that my babies were growing at healthy, average rates.
But I’m not going to lie. As a first-time mom, I was concerned about the possibility of having a large baby.
Having large babies with rolls, dimples and irresistibly pinchable squishy cheeks used to be seen as a good thing. People used to think it was a sign of a healthy baby, but now we are learning more about the various health and medical risks for mom and baby associated with macrosomic newborns. This line of thinking is probably why I get questioned about how small my children are even though they are healthy and growing.
We’ve seen a lot of big baby news coverage this year. There were several 13 pound babies born this summer and a 14 pound Utah baby may be the largest in the US for 2013. And let’s not forget the British woman who gave birth vaginally to a 15 pound 7 ounce baby in February.
15 pounds? Can you imagine?
So what is the big deal? Why are we so obsessed with these bouncing bundles of joy?
Babies weighing more than 14 pounds at birth are still rare. However, babies weighing more than 8 pounds 13 ounces at birth have increased 15 to 25 percent in the past two to three decades according to the medical journal The Lancet as cited by NBC News. Experts are also seeing an increase in large babies in developing countries. It’s definitely a cause for concern, especially for baby’s future health and mortality (especially in developing countries).
There are many factors that contribute to baby’s birth weight, and one is linked to obesity in expectant mothers. Overweight and expectant mothers are also at a higher risk for gestational diabetes and developing diabetes outside of pregnancy. The OB for my first pregnancy was convinced that I was an undiagnosed Type 2 diabetic because I developed gestational diabetes earlier than what was considered normal. This wasn’t the case for me, but undetected diabetes may be the cause for some larger babies.
Though we have to wonder what else is contributing to this increase?
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