Birthing Complications -Big Baby (Macrosomia)

4 min read

Written by Pradeep

Pradeep

Birthing Complications -Big Baby (Macrosomia)

There are many unforeseen pregnancy complications. Macrosomia is one among them. Though many mothers give birth normally to big babies without complications, some big babies’ birth may require assistance and help.

A macrosomic baby also has a higher risk of a few other possible complications like abnormally high blood sugar levels, increased blood pressure, excess body fat, and high cholesterol levels. All these conditions together can increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes in the baby.

In This Article

What is Macrosomia?

Macrosomia literally means “big body”. Big Baby (Macrosomia) is the term used for newborns who have a significantly larger weight as compared to the average baby weight. In India, the average weight of newborns usually lies somewhere between 2.5 to 3.5 kg, so a baby weighing 4kgs or more is generally said to be as macrosomic. Big babies can put both the mother and the baby at a risk for complications.

What Causes Babies to be Large?

Causes of macrosomia

There are varieties of causes that can play an important part in making your baby large.

1. Gestational Diabetes

One responsible factor is maternal diabetes or gestational diabetes, a mother who has such a condition is at double risk of having a large or big baby. Read more about gestational diabetes here.

2. Genetics

Genetics can also be a leading cause, if you were a macrosomic baby, then you have more chances of delivering a large baby. Taller and heavier parents generally produce big babies. If you have gained extra weight during pregnancy then it can also contribute to the macrosomic baby.

3. You Go Past Your Due Date

If in case you have crossed the due date by 10 to 12 days, then your baby has more time to grow and it can result in a large baby. Age of women also plays a big role, women above 35 years of age have more chances of having a big baby than younger women.

4. History

Your history of macrosomic past pregnancies will also increase your chances of having an oversized baby

5. Weight Gain or High BMI

If you have a high BMI or have gained a lot of weight during pregnancy, you can run a chance of having a large baby.

Read about pregnancy and weight gain here.

Please note that even if you have some risk factors stated above, then also it doesn’t mean that you are going to give birth to a big baby. Quite often, big babies are born to mothers who reported none of the risk factors stated above.

Can a Macrosomic Baby Be Detected Earlier?

ultrasound

It is very difficult to diagnose a macrosomic baby before his birth, but women with gestational diabetes can have a higher chance of having a big baby. However, ultrasound taken during the second and third trimesters can also provide some idea about the baby’s weight.

But for an accurate diagnosis, one needs to wait till the baby is born. A 10% margin between the weight of the baby as predicted by ultrasound and the actual weight at birth is considered admissible.

How Will a Large Baby Affect the Birth?

Delivering the macrosomic baby vaginally can be a little risky for both baby and mother. During the process of delivery, a mother may have to experience perineal tearing and extensive blood loss. Whereas the baby can face a potential risk of injuries and broken bones. A most dangerous complication of the macrosomic baby during vaginal delivery is shoulder dystocia, in which the baby’s shoulder gets stuck behind the mother’s pelvic bone.

Such complications often result in collar bone fractures in the baby and the second dangerous and most feared complication is asphyxia. If your baby is stuck for a longer period of time then it can result in the death of your baby due to lack of oxygen.

In order to prevent these complications, your doctor can recommend a C-section, especially if you have diabetes or your ultrasound suggests that the baby has a higher chance of being overweight.

Recovery From Birthing a Macrosomic Baby

Recovery From Birthing A Macrosomic Baby

Complete recovery and healing from a perineal tear or episiotomy during vaginal delivery of your big baby can take some time, mostly it depends upon how deeper the perineal tear is, the deeper the tear, the longer it will take to repair.

In order to recover completely, along with following your doctor’s instructions you can also follow some simple tips provided below:

  • Try not to sit for long periods of time till your stitches are not fully healed
  • Keep the area infection-free
  • Change your sanitary pad frequently
  • Depending upon your condition you can also try to take warm soaks in the tub
  • If in case you cannot sit, then take a hot bath and pour warm water on your perineum
  • If in case your pain doesn’t cease with time, go and see your doctor

Please keep in mind that your baby might be at risk of obesity and higher sugar levels, so he should be monitored for these conditions during future checks. And for yourself, you can also take a preventive test to check your sugar levels every few months after delivery.

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Pradeep,

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