A few days ago, we wrote about a baby girl named Jasleen from Germany who was born naturally despite the fact that she weighted 13.47 pounds. Earlier this month, another baby girl named Maria Lorena weighting over 13 pounds was born vaginally in Spain as well. Jasleen and Maria Lorena, however, aren’t the only supersized babies. On the contrary, the trend of big babies tends to be on the rise throughout the world. One year earlier, a baby boy who was born at a weight of 15.5 pounds broke all records in China, while a baby boy named George King who weighted over 15 pounds as well became the second heaviest baby ever born naturally in Britain.
In addition to making the headlines and breaking the records, supersized babies worry the doctors. There has been an increase of oversized babies for 15 to 25 percent in the developed countries over a period of the last couple of decades, while the big baby trend has also been reported from some developing countries. According to health experts, bigger doesn’t translate into better when it comes to babies. They explained that oversized babies (weighting more than 8.13 pounds or 4 kilograms) are at increased risk of health problems themselves and pose an increased risk of complications for their moms.
Larger babies have been shown to be more likely to suffer complications during birth. Due to their size, they are more likely to get stuck and as a result, they are at increased risk of being deprived of oxygen or/and suffer bone fractures, while supersize has also been associated with increased risk of too large or too small organs.
Obviously, large babies are more difficult to deliver. But they aren’t only at risk of health problems themselves but also pose a risk of a number of complications for their moms. If they get stuck during birth, mom can suffer tearing which in turn poses a risk of potentially dangerous postpartum hemorrhage (bleeding). Expectant moms carrying oversized babies are therefore often recommended to deliver via C-section which, however, as any other surgical procedure poses a risk of complications as well.
According to a 2012 study that appeared in the journal Diabetes Care, oversized babies are most often delivered by women who are overweight or obese. In fact, they are over 160 percent more likely to give birth to larger babies than women with a normal weight gain during pregnancy. At the same time, obesity during pregnancy has also been linked to a variety of birth defects, premature labor and increased risk of obesity and related health problems for the child later in life.
Obesity during pregnancy was found to be especially dangerous in the developing counties where child mortality rates are already the highest. According to a study that was published in the journal Lancet a few months ago, babies who are born to obese moms in sub-Saharan Africa have 50 percent higher mortality rates during the first four weeks in comparison to babies delivered by women with a healthy body weight.
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