They say everything is bigger in Texas. That seems to be the case in this story: A 16 pound baby was born on Friday, setting a possible state-wide record. This was the biggest baby ever born in Longview hospital.
The baby was born via scheduled Cesarean section on Friday to a mother with gestational diabetes. She was told by doctors the baby was big, but they were guessing at around 12 lbs. (Studies have shown that weight estimates of unborn babies can be off by a pound in either direction.) This is her fourth child.
It’s all fairly unimaginable. Most babies are not this big until about 3-6 months of age. I spend a lot of time talking anxious pregnant couples down about their fear of a big baby. There’s some confusing and alarmist mythology surrounding big babies– you can read a breakdown as to exactly why, in this piece about Miranda Kerr’s ten pound newborn.
This Texas-born baby, is, in fact, very big. No doubt about that. I come from a long line of big babies and the biggest clocked in at 11 pounds– born vaginally. In 2009 a 19 pound baby was born in Indonesia. According to The Guinness Book Of Records, a 23 pound baby was born in 1879 to a Canadian mother.
Gestational diabetes and obesity increase the chance of having a very big baby, which partly explains renewed attention to women’s weight before and during pregnancy. At times it seems we’re slipping back to the days of Mad Men— Did I read the other day that women are smoking to keep their pregnancy weight down? But according to some research babies actually are getting bigger–there’s now a concern about obese babies and infants.
I’ve had very slender moms in my birth classes tell me they have been warned to not eat any more carbs or to try to slow down weight gain. And it just doesn’t make sense to me. On the other hand, obesity is a health problem that affects many Americans and while some weight management in pregnancy can help– obese women are told to gain fewer pounds than the average 25, when pregnant–this problem needs to be addressed in a much broader way with focus on better nutrition and exercise programs for children and more access to and promotion of good, real food. And maybe we could end poverty while we’re at it. (We took our son to McDonald’s for the first time last week. As my husband paid the four dollar something tab, we understood why the place was packed with families.)
I want to hear from pregnant women. Do you hear all the time that you need to watch your weight? What have you heard, if anything, about the likelihood of a “big baby” and what that could mean for birth?
photo: Houston Chronicle