Doctors Worry About All These Big Babies

Along with obesity, birthweight is on the rise
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 16, 2013 5:16 PM CDT
Doctors Worry About All These Big Babies
Asher Stewardson was born Jan. 26, 2012, weighing 13 pounds, 13 ounces.    (AP Photo/The Des Moines Register, Todd Erzen)

Like people, babies are getting bigger around the world—and experts say those cute, chubby newborns pose health risks to themselves and their moms, NBC News reports. Not only can they get stuck during birth, but they can face higher risks of cancer, obesity, and (if born from an overweight mom) low blood sugar. And not all of their growth is necessarily in sync: "Large babies look more mature because of their size," says one doctor. "But in terms of their lungs, they may be immature."

American doctors have gotten aggressive about the issue by inducing birth before babies get too big—so the US average birthweight is actually sinking. Meanwhile C-section rates have risen from 20% in 1996 to 31% in 2009, partly because of oversized babies. Still, some moms have big babies simply because it runs in the family. One Pennsylvania mom made headlines by giving birth to a 13-pound, 12-ounce girl, and hears in her community that the baby looks smaller than on TV. "She doesn't look big—for a 3-month-old," the mom says—of her one-month-old baby. (More babies stories.)

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