Fetal macrosomia is the medical term for a large infant. A baby with fetal macrosomia weighs at least 4,000 grams, or 8 pounds and 13 ounces. In general, there are few health concerns related to fetal macrosomia until the baby reaches about 4,500 grams (9 pounds and 15 ounces).
A baby weighing almost ten pounds can experience significant complications if delivered vaginally and may face additional risks of birth injury or illness after birth, as well.
Risk factors for having a very large baby include:
- Maternal diabetes, including gestational diabetes or diabetes type I or II
- A history of having babies with fetal macrosomia
- If you had fetal macrosomia as an infant
- The mother is significantly overweight or obese
- Excessive weight gain during pregnancy
- Previous pregnancies, since the risk increases with each pregnancy
- Going more than two weeks past the due date
- A mother over age 35
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The most common issue caused by fetal macrosomia is labor complications. Vaginal delivery of a baby with fetal macrosomia can be difficult or impossible. The baby can get stuck in the birth canal, and labor will not progress. Your doctor may need to use forceps or a vacuum device to deliver the baby. All of these steps can increase the child’s risk of birth injuries.
In addition, babies with fetal macrosomia may have complications after birth that include:
- Low blood sugar levels in the first hours and days after birth
- Difficulty managing their blood sugar after birth
- Childhood obesity
- Metabolic syndrome