What Is Macrosomia and Why Is It Problematic?

Most of us would have read the headlines recently about the exceptionally large, 16 pound baby boy born to Janet Johnson and Michael Brown in Texas. According to some estimates this is the largest baby ever to have been born in the Lone Star State and at birth had the appearance of a much older child.

Reportedly the little fellow has earned himself the nickname of “Moose” across the internet, where he has grown quite popular. He has been named JaMichael Brown and owes his massive size partly to his genes – he has a father who is 6 feet 6 inches tall with an even taller uncle.

MacrosomiaHowever the other factor that contributed to the baby’s size is the fact that the mother had gestational diabetes.

Babies who grow very big in their mother’s wombs are referred to as Large for Gestational Age and this occurrence is known as Macrosomia or Big Baby Syndrome.

Having very large babies puts women at risk of having a Cesarean Section delivery.

Very large babies are also associated with neonatal injury (common complications is shoulder dystocia), and are at a higher risk of the new born dying.

Maternal injury and other complications at the time of vaginal delivery also are more likely when the baby is very large.

After-birth complications such as hypoglycemia have to be avoided by early feeding and close monitoring of the baby.

There are several factors that could cause a baby to become big:

  • Overdue pregnancies where the due date is past
  • The size of the parents; i.e. genetics can play a big part
  • The sex of the baby is also important since male babies are generally heavier than female babies.
  • If the mother has had poorly controlled diabetes during her pregnancy or if she had preexisting diabetes before she got pregnant
  • If a woman has put on a lot of weight during her pregnancy
  • Certain medical conditions such as Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome, Sotos syndrome or genetic abnormalities such as Hydrops Fetalis
  • Women of certain races are seen to be more likely to have larger babies – for instance Hispanic women have more large babies, even when they are controlled for diabetes. Black women also are more likely to have larger babies, because the incidence of diabetes among them is higher than that of white or Asian women.
  • The use of certain antibiotics are also known to raise risk


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