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Pregnant With A Big Baby? Its Causes, Complications, And What You Should Know
PHOTO BY @MariyaL/iStock
  • You’ve probably heard a pregnant woman being warned about having too much sweets or being told not to eat too much watermelon lest her baby might get too big, causing her a prolonged and difficult labor. Could there be any truth to this?

    When having prenatal checkups, one of the things your doctor will monitor is your unborn baby’s height and weight. You want to hear from your doctor that your baby is growing as expected—a sign that he is healthy and undergoing proper development in utero.

    Just as there are cases of underweight babies (as in the case of Mariel Padilla who is pregnant with her second child), sometimes, a baby can also grow bigger than normal. The medical term for this is fetal macrosomia.

    What is normal baby weight?

    According to Verywellfamily.com, the weight of a newborn baby can range anywhere from 5 pounds 11 ounces to 8 pounds 6 ounces (average weight: 7 to 7.5 pounds).

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    When a baby weighs over the 90th percentile at birth, or 8 pounds 13 ounces, he is considered larger than average. Naturally, when a baby is born large, it can have implications on the method of delivery, mom and baby’s health, length of stay at the hospital, and recovery of both mother and child.

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    Causes of macrosomia

    The following may increase the likelihood of having a large baby:

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    • Elevated blood sugar levels - having gestational diabetes ups your chances of having a baby that is larger than average
    • You are overdue - babies continue to grow while in utero, so the longer he’s in there, the more weight he will gain
    • If your baby is a boy - most babies that are heavier than normal are boys
    • Being overweight before pregnancy
    • Gaining too much weight during pregnancy
    • If you have too much carbohydrates in your diet
    • You get pregnant at the age of 35 years old and above 

    Doctors can estimate the size of your baby through the following tests: an ultrasound, measuring the fundal height, a physical exam, and checking the levels of your amniotic fluid

    Giving birth to a large baby

    When you are pregnant with a big baby and your due date is near, there really is no other thing to do but to prepare (of course, losing weight ahead of time is an ideal option). 

    Contrary to common belief, a vaginal birth is possible even when you are pregnant with an 8- or 9-pounder baby. But whether you are giving birth vaginally or via Cesarean section, it is crucial that your doctor knows your medical history, your pregnancy history, your health condition, the size of your pelvis, and possible risks. You should never hesitate about bringing up your concerns with your doctor.

    Possible complications of delivering a large baby

    While it is rare to have complications when giving birth to a large baby, the possibility of the following happening can never be discounted:

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    • A prolonged and difficult birth
    • Birth injuries - these may stem from delivery instruments, such as forceps, that the doctor may have to use to get the baby out. It is also possible for the baby to have shoulder dystocia, a broken collar bone or a broken arm during the process of childbirth. 
    • Breathing problems - if your baby happens to inhale meconium while inside the womb, that may interfere with his breathing.
    • Death - it is said to be rare, but it is possible to lose a large baby during childbirth due to complications.

    Any would-be mom wishes for her baby to be born healthy. However, remember that being big does not necessarily mean healthy. Eat healthy, monitor your weight, and go to regular check-ups with your ob-gyn so she can advise you how to maintain a healthy pregnancy.

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