Is Birth Weight Rising? Why Some Women Deliver Enormous Babies
Fetal macrosomia, or having a larger-than-average baby, is by some estimates on the rise. Here's what you need to know about extra big babies.
byJoshua A. Krisch
Birth weight has trended upward in the U.S. for decades, with the average weight for a newborn now hovering around a healthy 7.5 pounds. Beyond that gentle statistical climb, however, there are worrying outliers. About 1 percent of babies weigh more than 9 lbs. 15 oz. at birth, and that’s when doctors grow concerned. In the past few years, babies that would’ve been considered gargantuan — 13-pound-plus newborns — have become more commonplace, with record-breaking deliveries recorded in Pennsylvania, California, Germany, Spain, and elsewhere. In the U.K., one mom famously gave birth — vaginally, no less — to a whopping 15-lbs., 7-oz. son. And just last year, a Florida woman raised eyebrows when she gave birth to a 13-pound baby girl by C-section. “It looked like they pulled a toddler out of my belly,” the mother told ABC News. “When the doctor was pulling her out of me I just start hearing them all laughing and excited.”
As birth weight approaches 10 pounds, vaginal delivery can put the mother and baby at risk. Delivering giant babies vaginally can injure the mother’s birth canal, tearing vaginal tissue and potentially rupturing the uterus, which can lead to severe bleeding and, if left untreated, death. Meanwhile, even if the enormous kid somehow makes it out of his or her mother, studies suggest the child is more likely to develop diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, and abnormal cholesterol levels, opening the door to a life of long-term cardiovascular problems.
Macrosomia, and the related condition LGA (Large for Gestational Age), typically refer to babies who weigh more than 8 lbs. 13 oz. at birth. That’s big, but also fairly routine — about 7 percent of infants born in the U.S. (and 9 percent worldwide) qualify. Studies suggest that mothers who are older than 35, obese, or diagnosed with diabetes (either before or during pregnancy) are more likely to give birth to large children. Male babies are more likely than female babies to be born enormous, and overdue babies are also at higher risk.
We’re seeing more large babies now than ever before, and that might be because some of the factors that cause macrosomia — maternal diabetes and obesity — are also on the rise. One 2004 study suggested that, as mothers gained more weight and smoked less frequently, babies were starting to grow to unhealthy sizes in utero.
Unfortunately, high birth weight is difficult to predict. There are a few warning signs — an abnormally long distance between the mother’s uterus and her pubic bone (known as fundal height), for instance, or excessive amniotic fluid. But even ultrasounds are notoriously unreliable when it comes to estimating birth weight. In fact, suspicions of macrosomia are among the most common reasons for doctors scheduling unnecessary C-sections and inductions — only to deliver babies with normal birth weights. One 2008 study found that interventions to protect women from high birthweight babies carry more risks than delivering a giant baby vaginally.
“Our ability to predict macrosomia is poor,” the authors of the 2008 study wrote. “Our management policy of suspected macrosomic pregnancies raises induction of labor and cesarean delivery rates without improving maternal or fetal outcome.”
Research has shown that a fear of macrosomia leads to medical interventions that are riskier for mothers and babies than delivering a larger-than-average infant. In other words, it isn’t easy delivering a giant baby. But potentially worse? Getting worked up about the relatively remote chance of having one.
This article was originally published on
Having a large baby | Pregnancy Birth and Baby
beginning of content
When you have a baby, one of the first things people like to know — besides the baby's name — is their birth weight. Even before the baby's born, parents can start to worry about its growth and development in the womb, particularly if they've been told they're having a big baby. But does size really matter?
Babies come in all shapes and sizes
More than 9 out of 10 babies born at term (37 to 40 weeks) weigh between 2.5kg and 4.5kg.
If your baby weighs 4.5kg or more at birth, they are considered larger than normal. This is also known as 'fetal macrosomia' and large for gestational age (LGA). (If they weigh less than 2.5kg, they may be considered smaller than normal.)
How is a baby's size measured?
During routine antenatal check-ups, your doctor or midwife may estimate the growth and size of your baby by measuring the 'fundal height'. That is the measurement from your pubic bone to the top of your uterus.
An ultrasound can also give health professionals an idea of how big your baby is likely to be, but it's not very accurate.
Your doctor may also check the level of amniotic fluid. Excessive amniotic fluid, which surrounds the baby in the womb, can indicate the baby is larger than average, since larger babies can produce more urine.
However, there's no way of reliably measuring your baby's weight until after they are born. In many cases, women who are told they're going to have a large baby actually give birth to a baby within the normal range.
Why is my baby big?
A baby may be large at birth due to genetic factors, the mother's health or, in rare cases, a medical condition that causes the fetus to grow too quickly.
Several factors can contribute to large birth weight. For example:
the baby's parents' height and stature
if the baby is a boy (baby boys tend to be larger than baby girls)
having older siblings (the chance of fetal macrosomia increases with each pregnancy)
a previous pregnancy in which the baby was large
being overdue by more than 2 weeks
if the mother has diabetes during pregnancy
if the mother gains a lot of weight during pregnancy or is obese
if the mother is aged 30 or older
In some cases, larger-than-normal birth weight doesn't have a clear cause and can't be explained.
Giving birth to a large baby
Most large babies who weigh more than 4.5kg do not have a difficult birth. But there are still some risks associated with having a big baby.
Labour may take longer and be more likely to involve complications. There's an increased risk of having a forceps or vacuum-assisted delivery or a caesarean, and of birth injury to the mother or baby.
There is a link between fetal macrosomia and shoulder dystocia. Shoulder dystocia occurs during a vaginal birth when the baby's head has been born, but one of the shoulders becomes stuck behind the mother's pelvic bone. The baby's shoulders need to be released quickly so the baby's body can also be born, and they can start breathing.
Shoulder dystocia can happen during any birth. At least half of all babies who experience shoulder dystocia at birth weigh less than 4kg.
Large babies can be born via a normal, vaginal delivery — but it's best to give birth where you can access specialist medical services, just in case things don't go according to plan. Every pregnancy and birth is unique, so talk to your doctor or midwife about the best place for you to give birth.
After the birth of a large baby
Since many large babies are born to mothers with diabetes, some babies will need help regulating their blood sugar after they're born. Later in life, the risk of childhood obesity or being overweight may increase and the baby may develop other problems with their metabolism.
A larger than average baby may need help breathing following the birth, so they may be admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) or special care nursery (SCN).
There is also an increased risk of jaundice (yellowing of the skin) among large babies.
Regardless of their size at birth, a baby's weight is always monitored closely after they are born to make sure they are healthy and growing properly. But their weight isn't the only thing that's important. How well they are feeding and the number of wet nappies and poos they produce daily can also indicate that your baby is doing well.
Can you avoid having a large baby?
Often there's nothing you can do to avoid having a large or small baby. But looking after yourself during pregnancy is important for all women. You should consider:
giving up smoking (if you currently smoke)
eating a balanced, healthy diet
maintaining your weight or, if overweight, losing weight before conception if possible
if you have diabetes, trying to manage it properly
avoiding alcohol and illegal drugs
Where to seek help
Always talk to your doctor, obstetrician or midwife first if you are concerned about your pregnancy, your own health or the health of your baby.
If you are worried about your baby's growth — or how fetal macrosomia might affect you as a mum — call Pregnancy, Birth and Baby on 1800 882 436 to speak to a maternal child health nurse.
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (Australia's mothers and babies data visualisations), South Australian Perinatal Practice Guidelines (Fetal growth – accelerated), Department of Health (Clinical practice guidelines: Pregnancy care), health. vic (Gestational diabetes), The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (Shoulder dystocia)
Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.
Last reviewed: September 2020
Back To Top
Guide to a healthy pregnancy
Pre-existing diabetes and pregnancy
Weight gain in pregnancy
Check-ups, tests and scans available during your pregnancy
Routine antenatal tests
Having a small baby
This information is for your general information and use only and is not intended to be used as medical advice and should not be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any medical condition, nor should it be used for therapeutic purposes.
The information is not a substitute for independent professional advice and should not be used as an alternative to professional health care. If you have a particular medical problem, please consult a healthcare professional.
Except as permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, this publication or any part of it may not be reproduced, altered, adapted, stored and/or distributed in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of Healthdirect Australia.
Support this browser is being discontinued for Pregnancy, Birth and Baby
Support for this browser is being discontinued for this site
Internet Explorer 11 and lower
We currently support Microsoft Edge, Chrome, Firefox and Safari. For more information, please visit the links below:
Chrome by Google
Firefox by Mozilla
Safari by Apple
You are welcome to continue browsing this site with this browser. Some features, tools or interaction may not work correctly.
Kate Middleton gave birth to a daughter The weight of the newborn princess is 3.7 kg. The girl and her mother are doing well. Queen Elizabeth, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Harry and members of both families have already been notified of the replenishment, the press service of Kensington Palace reports.
Kate Middleton was taken to the hospital on Saturday morning with labor pains. She was taken by car, accompanied by her husband, to the private Lindo wing of St. Mary's Hospital, where the couple's first child, Prince George Alexander Louis, was born in July 2013.
Kate Middleton and Prince William's second child was expected in the second half of April, around the 25th. However, this did not happen, and doctors began to say that Kate may need to stimulate labor, since in such cases they usually do not wait more than a week. Her first child was born a little late - three days later than the expected date.
The couple did not find out the sex of the child in order to make a surprise for the whole country. According to The Telegraph newspaper, the vast majority of Britons, about 9out of 10, they believe that a girl will be born, the most popular version of her name turned out to be Alice, and many believe that she will be a blonde. If these forecasts are confirmed, then Princess Alice can cost the bookmakers 500 thousand pounds sterling (that's about 757 thousand dollars). The name Elizabeth became slightly less popular, followed by Charlotte, Victoria and Diana. Among male names, according to bookmakers, Arthur and James are in the lead. However, if a girl is born, marketing experts predict that the country will benefit from tourism and souvenir sales of about 80 million pounds (120 million dollars). Only in the first year of a girl's life, this figure can increase to 150 million pounds (about 220 million dollars). Over her lifetime, the princess and heir to the throne is expected to replenish the state treasury by almost a billion pounds (1.5 billion dollars), writes The Telegraph.
Bets were also placed on the date of birth, but here the most popular options - April 20 and 21, April 29 - the fourth wedding anniversary of the Duke and Duchess, May 7 - the day of the general election - have already lost.
The entire UK was waiting for the birth of this baby: fans began to be on duty near the hospital a few days before the expected date of delivery, and someone remained there since the beginning of April. Fans of the Duke and Duchess' family brought posters and balloons with United Kingdom flags. Moreover, they had to write several options for congratulations for Kate, both in case of the birth of a son and for a daughter.
When the expectation of the birth dragged on for another five days, a sweet gift was sent from Kensington Palace to the fans of the royal family to express gratitude for their support and not leave people hungry. Two men brought boxes of fresh pastries to the waiting crowd outside the hospital. Some cakes were wrapped in pink ribbons, which caused a new wave of excitement: people decided that the duchess would have a girl. “It was a very sensitive and kind sign that shows how grateful they are for their support,” Amy Thompson, who is waiting near St. Mary’s Hospital, quotes The Independent.
Just a few days before, a scandal erupted around the hospital where Kate Middleton would give birth, and more precisely around the private wing of the Lindo. As a result of a check organized by the Mirror, traces of cocaine were found in the toilet of the hospital. Experts explained that the positive test result was likely caused by contact with a person who had cocaine particles on his hands. At the same time, forensic laboratory tests to confirm the presence of the substance will still be carried out.
In April it became known that Kate and William would not settle for two children and were already planning a third child. About this in an interview with Hello! Kate Middleton's uncle Gary Goldsmith said: "I don't think they'll stop for two. So if it’s not a girl this time, don’t be too upset,” Goldsmith said, adding that he was sure that at some point a girl would still be born, and most importantly, that the baby was born healthy.
Daughter Kate Middleton received the title of Princess of Cambridge and took fourth place in line for the royal throne after her grandfather, father and older brother Prince George. At the end of 2012, Queen Elizabeth II signed a letter, according to which the daughter of Prince William and his wife Kate Middleton will receive the title of princess and become a contender for the British throne. It was reported that the charter signed by the queen should put an end to discrimination against women in the issue of succession to the throne.
Recall that the first child of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge was born on July 22, 2013. One and a half year old Prince George of Cambridge travels with might and main with his parents around the world, he has already been on a tour of Australia and New Zealand. This trip repeats the journey through the same countries of Prince Charles with his wife Princess Diana and their nine-month-old son Prince William in 1983.
According to his mother, George has a violent temper and likes to scream. Because of this, the boy was not taken to church for the traditional Christmas service. "I'm sorry we didn't take George with us, but you would have heard him from here if he was in church," Kate told reporters the next day. When the baby was just born, his father said that the child "roars like a lion."
The worldwide popularity and universal love of the British for the royal couple sometimes brings inconvenience to the duke and duchess, and with the advent of George, new difficulties arose. So, last fall, the Duke and Duchess's lawyers sent official letters to two photographers, asking them to stop persecuting their son George. The thing is that photographers can make good money by getting an unofficial photo of the little prince. The fee for such pictures can reach several thousand pounds. The position of the Duke and Duchess on this issue, which has become known to British publications, may increase the demand for foreign media, which will more easily agree to the publication of paparazzi photographs, Sky News reports.
The wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton took place on April 29, 2011, the whole world followed this event, the broadcast was watched by about two billion people, and about 600 thousand people gathered at Westminster Abbey, where everything took place. At the same time, Queen Elizabeth of Great Britain granted William and Kate the titles of Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
Pound has lost all its weight - ExpertRU - Financial markets. News Great Britain. News of the financial markets of Great Britain. News of Europe. Financial market. Stock market.
European financial market. European stock market. News of the US stock markets. Growth of American indices. Survey of the American markets. Stock. Securities. Investors. Investments. USA. Europe. USA news. News of Europe. US stocks. European shares. Lb. (September 1, 2022)
Financial markets Exchange rates Lb Great Britain
Gleb Baranov September 1, 2022, 23:28
Last August was the worst month for the pound since October 2016, when the Brexit vote took place. On September 1, it fell to $1.15, and the market is already discussing something previously unthinkable - the pound reaching parity with the dollar.
GBP/USD is the oldest currency pair that has existed for two and a half centuries. And for a long time, the dollar did not look very presentable in it - back at the beginning of the last century, the pound sterling cost 4.9times more expensive. Then it was he who was the main currency of the world.
But the 20th century was the century of the fall of the pound. In 1931, after the gold standard was abandoned, the pound devalued by 20%. In 1949, it fell another 30%. In 1976, it was already worth $1.57 dollars, and the lowest historical value was recorded in 1985 - $1.0463. Since then, the pound has gone through a lot, including, for example, the famous attack of George Soros in 1992, but there was no more talk of parity with the dollar - in 2007, the "British" cost even more than $2.
Now talk of parity has resumed. Since the beginning of this year, the pound has already lost 15%. Paired with the dollar, this August was the worst month for him since October 2016, when the Brexit vote took place - the British currency lost 4.5%. And on the first day of autumn it fell again - from $1.1622 to $1.15.
“We think that by the middle of next year the pound will fall <…> to $1.05. It may be below the levels reached on the eve of the 1985 Plaza Agreement <…>, the UK's withdrawal from the European Exchange Rate Mechanism in 1992 ($1.43), the 2008/09 global financial crisis ($1.38), the 2016 Brexit vote ($1.21) and the 2020 COVID-19 crisis ($1.21),” Paul Dales, Chief Economist at Capital Economics, in a policy brief.
Political and economic uncertainty hurts the British currency. Inflation is on the rise and the UK is already facing a rapidly growing cost-of-living crisis in full force. The forthcoming appointment of a new prime minister has raised uncertainty about the fiscal outlook. The energy crisis in autumn, according to forecasts of the Bank of England, will plunge the UK economy into a long recession. Inflation, according to him, will reach 13.3% by the end of the year. And Goldman Sachs even predicts that inflation in the UK will exceed 22% early next year.
“An economic slowdown and political paralysis are likely to put pressure on the British pound,” UBS strategists wrote. “We rate the euro and pound sterling as the least preferred in our currency strategy.”
A report from the think tank Resolution Foundation says that typical household disposable incomes are set to fall by 10% (£3,000) over this year and next, in what they call "the deepest decline in living standards in a century."
"The gloomy outlook for the spread of poverty in the UK this winter highlights the worsening problems for the UK economy," Suzanne Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, told Reuters.
According to Bloomberg calculations, the probability that the pound will hit a historic low by the end of the year is now 1 in 7, although at the beginning of the year it was in the area of perfectly microscopic numbers.