It seems newborns are getting bigger every year in Oregon.
Last week, a 14-pound, two-ounce baby girl was born. In 2005, a baby boy and girl both were born at 14 pounds. In 2007, a baby girl weighed in at 15 pounds and almost 7 ounces.
The following year in 2008, the state set a record with three babies born weighing more than 14 pounds, including a 15-pound girl and another girl who came in less than an ounce short of 17 pounds. That girl is now the state’s largest baby on record.
In 2009, three more newborns were born at least 14 pounds and over; two more in 2010, two more. In the first few months of 2011, two babies were born over 14 pounds, including one 16-pound, 12-ounce girl.
What’s strange is that prior to 2004, no baby was born in the state that weighed 14 pounds or more, according to the state Center for Health Statistics and Vital Records.
But it’s not just Oregon. Bigger babies are being born all over our country.
High birth weight babies are labeled as such if they are more than about 9 pounds, 15 ounces.
Research had shown that obese and diabetic mothers are more likely to have large babies, and are also more likely to develop gestational diabetes while pregnant. In turn, the large babies have a higher risk of high blood pressure, diabetes and stroke later in life. This has been well established and weight gain in pregnancy is more closely monitored for these very reasons.
What’s surprising however is that more normal weight, non-diabetic moms are having larger babies.
But while diabetes or obesity in the mother may increase the probability of having a large baby, healthy, normal-weight mothers have them, too. According to the Center for Health Statistics, only about half of the mothers in the last four years who had larger babies were overweight or obese. Only two of the largest babies since 1989 were born to mothers who had gestational diabetes.
That’s the part is stumping researchers. Some are exploring the idea that high-fat diets, overeating during pregnancy, and lack of exercise, even in normal weight women bring about larger babies. No explanation has been definitely locked down, however. Further research is needed.
What the numbers definitively show is that the old fashioned notion that only women with untreated gestational diabetes and those who are overweight have larger babies is unfounded.
Did you have a large baby without being overweight or diabetic? Does it bother you when people think you had untreated diabetes because your baby was large?
Read Danielle’s blog Just Write Mom.
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