The recent birth of a 16-pound infant has brought the issues associated with giant babies to the fore. According to scientists, there are certain factors that increase the chances of mothers giving birth to big babies.
The 16-pound baby was born to a mother in Brazil via cesarean section at Hospital Padre Colombo in Parintins, Amazonas State. Named Angerson Santos, the baby was born two-foot-tall.
Such giant babies are said to have macrosomia, derived from the Greek word for large body. A baby born weighing more than 8.8 pounds, gestational age notwithstanding, is said to have macrosomia, as per IFLScience.
For context, the normal weight of newborn babies is typically 7lb 6oz for boys and 7lb 2oz for girls.
There is a range of factors that increase the likelihood of a mother giving birth to a baby with macrosomia.
First, the weight of mothers can affect the weight of newborn babies. Obese mothers are twice as likely to have a newborn with macrosomia. Likewise, excessive weight gain during pregnancy likewise increases the risk of macrosomia.
The second risk factor is gestational diabetes. Even in expecting mothers without the condition, there is an increase in insulin resistance. This factor increases the amount of glucose that reaches the fetus through the placenta, leading to the fetus growing inordinately in size. The condition also allows lipids (fats) to enter the placenta, which further helps increase the size of the fetus.
In the case of the 16-pound baby, doctors attributed macrosomia to the mother’s diabetes condition.
Parents’ age also plays a role in macrosomia. Older parents are more likely to have a baby with macrosomia. A mother of an age greater than 35 is 20% more likely to have a baby with macrosomia. Similarly, a father of age greater than 35 increases the chances of macrosomia by 10%.
The chances of a baby born with macrosomia also increase with each successive pregnancy. Also, babies born after term or overdue pregnancies also increase the risk of a baby being macrosomic.
The gender of the baby can also be a factor. Boys are three times more likely than girls to be born with macrosomia.
According to previous data, babies born after 1970 are about 450g heavier compared to the babies born before that period.
In other news, an ingenious innovation of a smart glove that costs less than $1 has been created with the aim to aid clinicians during birth. “This is the first glove of its kind that could be used to identify the fetal position and therefore may be able to improve labor outcomes,” Dr. Shireen Jaufuraully of University College London, lead author on the study, said. “We hope that with successful clinical translation, the glove may be used worldwide, increasing the safety of assisted vaginal birth.”