Macrosomia
En Español (Spanish Version)

Definition
Macrosomia is a condition in which a baby is abnormally large before birth. The average birth weight for babies is about 7 pounds. Babies with macrosomia have a birth weight of at least 8 pounds, 13 ounces or more.

Macrosomia occurs in more than 10% of all pregnancies in the United States. It may lead to pregnancy complications such as a greater risk of cesarean delivery, damage to the birth canal, and injury to the baby during a vaginal delivery.

Babies born with macrosomia are more likely to have low blood sugar, respiratory distress, and jaundice.

Jaundice Baby

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Causes
The most common cause of macrosomia is diabetes in the mother during pregnancy.

Risk Factors
Factors that increase your chance of giving birth to a baby with macrosomia include:

  • Mother having diabetes
  • Mother having gestational diabetes
  • Mother is obese
  • Mother and/or father of large size
  • Excessive weight gain by the mother during pregnancy
Signs and Symptoms
The main symptom of macrosomia is a birthweight of at least 8 pounds, 13 ounces or more. This birthweight may be estimated during prenatal testing.

Diagnosis
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical and pelvic examination will be done. An ultrasound can help determine the size of the baby before birth.

Your doctor will estimate the birth weight and evaluate any dangers for the mother and/or baby.

If the fetal macrosomia may cause potential harm during a vaginal delivery, a Cesarean delivery may be scheduled.

Ultrasound of Fetus

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Treatment
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment options include:

Cesarean Delivery
Recommended for babies too large to be safely delivered through the birth canal.

Feeding babies with macrosomia soon after birth is important to prevent low blood sugar in the baby.

Prevention
Macrosomia may not always be prevented. Some steps that may help include:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight throughout pregnancy
  • Controlling blood sugar if you have diabetes
  • Receiving prenatal care to diagnose problems early and prevent complications



RESOURCES:
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

CANADIAN RESOURCES:
British Columbia Ministry of Health

The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada

References:
Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php. Updated July 22, 2013. Accessed April 1, 2013.

Heiskanen N, Raatikainen K, et al. Fetal macrosomia—a continuing obstetric challenge. Biology of the Neonate. 2006;90(2):98-103. Epub 2006 Mar 16.

Zamorski MA, Biggs WS. Management of suspected fetal macrosomia. Am Fam Physician. 2001;15;63(2):302–307.

Last Reviewed August 2013



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