Monday, August 19th, 2013
There’s been a flurry of recent headlines about giant babies born around the world, weighing in at 13 pounds or more. One British baby, born in March via vaginal delivery, clocked in at a whopping 15 pounds.
Researchers say the risk of having a big baby has increased because more mothers are obese when they give birth, and many women are delaying motherhood, boosting their risk of gestational diabetes, which contributes to over-sized babes.
This trend not only scares expecting moms, but also sets up newborns for poor health, reports NBCNews.com:
Along with the risk of a difficult birth, there is the impact on the health of the babies once they are born, says Dr. Irina Burd, an assistant professor of gynecology and obstetrics and neurology and director of the integrated research center for fetal medicine at Johns Hopkins Medicine.
It’s not uncommon for overweight moms to have diabetes or to develop it during pregnancy. And some of the high blood sugar in the mom flows through the placenta to the baby. That, in turn, forces the baby’s pancreas to pump up insulin production, which can leave babies with low blood sugar after they are born, Burd says.
Another problem is that sugar acts like a growth factor, and not all the growth is in sync, says Dr. Hyagriv Simhan, chief of maternal fetal medicine and vice chair for obstetrics at McGee Women’s Hospital at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
“In some ways very large babies look more mature because of their size,” Simhan adds. “But in terms of their lungs, they may be immature.”
Even more concerning are the effects felt by big babies as they grow up. “So they’re not just obese at delivery, but there are epigenetic changes that program them for the rest of their lives,” Burd says. And those include a heightened risk for obesity and cancer, she says.
That’s why doctors have tried to encourage pregnant patients who are obese to gain very little weight during pregnancy.
Newborn baby on scale, via Shutterstock
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Friday, March 29th, 2013
A 15 pound, 7 ounce baby named George was born six weeks ago in England in a surprising–and harrowing–experience for the boy’s mother, Jade King, who birthed him vaginally. Yahoo.com has more:
No one realized just how big George was until his head had emerged, at which point his shoulders got temporarily stuck and he went without oxygen for five minutes.
“There was about 20-odd doctors in the room, and that’s when it got really scary,” King recalled.
Once the baby was out, he was given a 10 percent chance of survival and transferred from Cheltenham to another hospital, in Bristol. He was kept there for four and a half weeks and then went home, and just received normal results from an MRI.
“It might just be that he’s a little bit slow with his learning,” his mom added. “So hopefully it’s just minor little things.”
George has only gained a pound since his birth, and has been wearing clothes sized for a 3-to-6-month old from day one (his mom had to give away all the newborn onesies that were awaiting him at home). He is the second-biggest baby ever born vaginally in the UK, according to various reports; the larger baby weighed just an ounce more.
In George’s case, doctors were unsure of what caused his hugeness, the medical term for which is called macrosomia. But the condition is often caused by mom having had gestational diabetes during her pregnancy, according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
Image: Woman giving birth at hospital, via Shutterstock
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Tuesday, July 17th, 2012
A new study from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston has found that delivering a high-birthweight infant more than doubles a woman’s breast cancer risk. The researchers suggest that having a large infant is associated with a hormonal environment during pregnancy that favors future breast cancer development and progression.
“We also found that women delivering large babies – those in the top quintile of this study, which included babies whose weight was 8.25 or more pounds – have increased levels of hormones that create a ‘pro-carcinogenic environment.’ This means that they have high levels of estrogen, low levels of anti-estrogen and the presence of free insulin-like growth factors associated with breast cancer development and progression,” said lead author Dr. Radek Bukowski, professor of obstetrics and gynecology in the Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine in a statement.
“Women can’t alter their pregnancy hormones, but can take steps to increase their general protection against breast cancer,” Dr. Bukowski continued, noting that breastfeeding, having more than one child, following a healthy diet and exercising have been shown to reduce breast cancer risk.
Image: Pregnant woman, via Shutterstock.
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