At every prenatal visit, the doctor will examine you and check your fundal height. The fundal height is the distance between the pubic bone to the top of the uterus. This measurement shows the size of the baby for the gestational age.
Sometimes it may so happen that the baby might be big for the gestational age. If this is the case, the doctor will do an ultrasound scan and tests to determine the cause.
If Your Baby Is Measuring Big Will It Come Early?
Just because the baby is big does not mean that it will arrive early. The doctor will undertake an ultrasound scan to determine how big the baby is. If the baby is big for the gestational age, then a normal delivery might be difficult as the baby cannot pass easily through the birth canal.
In this situation, the doctor might induce and take out the baby before the due date. If this is the case, the chances of the baby being born early is high.
But in most likelihood, the doctor will discuss with you if they plan to induce ahead of the due date so that you can be prepared.
if you want to learn more about why some babies measure big and what this could mean for your pregnancy, keep reading….
What Causes The Baby To Grow Big In The Uterus?
A fetus that is much larger than the gestational age is called fetal macrosomia. There are various reasons for the big size of the fetus.
If the mother had diabetes before pregnancy (pre-gestational diabetes) or during pregnancy (gestational diabetes), the baby has a great chance to grow big. The baby will have large shoulders and a significant amount of body fat for the gestational age.
- Previous history of fetal macrosomia
If you have previously delivered a large baby, the chances of having a large baby in subsequent pregnancies are high. Similarly, if you were a large baby at birth, it also increases the chances of fetal macrosomia.
- Mother’s weight
If the mother was overweight before getting pregnant or has gained a lot of of weight during pregnancy, the baby’s chances of growing large are very high.
- Successive pregnancies
The chances of fetal weight increasing increase with every successive pregnancy. The weight gain is 4 ounces for every successive pregnancy.
- Overdue pregnancy
The normal pregnancy period for a healthy woman is 40 weeks. If the pregnancy goes past this stage, the fetus also will grow big.
In addition to the above, male babies will have a slightly higher weight than female babies. Similarly, if the mother is more than 35 years of age, the chances of developing fetal macrosomia are high.
What Are The Signs of Having a Big Baby?
There is no specific way to determine how big the baby is until the baby is born.
During a routine prenatal visit, the doctor will measure the fundal height, the distance between the pubic bone and the top of the uterus. If the distance is more, the doctor will presume that the baby is big.
Similarly, having excessive amniotic fluid may also indicate the large size of the baby. If the baby is large, the urine output will also be more. This can increase the quantity of the amniotic fluid.
If the doctor suspects a large baby, he may prescribe an ultrasound scan to determine the baby’s weight. The scan will not provide an accurate weight but only an approximate weight.
Should I Be Worried If My Baby Measures Big?
You need not be worried if your baby measures big as there are ways to carry forward the pregnancy successfully.
If the baby’s weight is due to you being diagnosed with gestational diabetes, the doctor will prescribe a special diet for you. You will be asked to stay away from all food items that can shoot up the sugar level in your blood. You should carefully follow the instructions as provided by the doctor.
If you are overweight or have gained much weight during pregnancy, the doctor will again prescribe a special diet. By strictly following this diet, you get all the nutrition required for your baby without gaining further weight.
In case of a previous history of fetal macrosomia or successive pregnancies, the doctor will discuss with you and decide what is best for you.
What Can I Do To Reduce The Risk Of Having A Big Baby?
Staying healthy during pregnancy is the best way to reduce the risk of having a big baby. If you are obese, bring the weight under control before you try for a baby. Once you are pregnant, you should eat healthily and stay active. This helps to maintain your as well as the fetal weight.
If you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes, you should carefully follow the doctor’s instructions. This helps to keep the sugar level under control and manage the fetal weight.
What Are The Complications Of Giving Birth To A Big Baby?
Giving vaginal birth to a big baby can cause the below complications
- Problem during labor
Labour can be difficult if you give birth to a big baby. This includes shoulder dystocia where the baby’s shoulder get caught in the mother’s pubic bone, or birth injury. The mother might require forceps or vaccum to give birth. Sometimes an emergency C-section might be required.
Sometimes the vaginal tissues or the muscle between vagina and the anus may get torn because of the pressure.
In case the baby is big, the uterine muscles may not contract properly after the birth. This can cause excessive bleeding.
If you had a previous C-section and opt for the vaginal birth of a big baby, sometimes the uterus will open at the line of the C-section. This can cause further complications.
Giving birth to a big baby may not be easy. If you fall under the risk category it is best to pay special attention to your health right from the beginning.
Through a balanced diet and proper exercise you can keep your weight and blood sugar level under control.
This helps to keep the baby’s weight at the right level.
However, just because your baby is measuring big does not mean it will come early. Your doctor may decide to induce you early or schedule a c-section if they think the baby will be too difficult to birth at full-term.