Dr. Manny Says: Everything’s Bigger in Texas, But Babies Shouldn’t Be
Now, let me take a minute to explain here a little bit about the development of large babies.
There are many infants that naturally begin to get large for their gestational age. Reasons for this may be that the parents are large people or there is a family history of large babies.
However, when you look at the measurements of these babies, the weight appears to be balanced throughout the baby’s body. In cases like these, for the most part, obstetricians do not need to be unduly concerned about the large fetal growth.
But when babies are hitting abnormally excessive weights – like 16 pounds – there are usually other factors that have contributed to the problem.
Specifically, as in Brown’s mother’s case, the factor is called gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes is a condition where there is too much sugar circulating in the mother. The sugar is easily transferred to the fetus in utero, which leads to weight gain.
When you look at these babies with a sonogram, typical characteristics not only include overall high fetal weight, but also increased abdominal girth as they develop.
That is why glucose testing of the mother is imperative, as well as serial ultrasounds to monitor fetal weight gain. Babies that are excessively overweight are at risk for many complications, including not only birth trauma and electrolyte abnormalities, but unfortunately in-utero fetal death is also a possibility.
Thankfully, from what I have read, this child seems to be okay, but let us not lose sight of this: 16 pound babies should not be celebrated, but rather serve as a warning that if monitored poorly, pregnancies can suffer unexpected negative consequences.