What Is Fetal Macrosomia & Its Symptoms?

Fetal Macrosomia

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Are you pregnant? Has your doctor hinted that your unborn baby may be a little too heavy? Do you worry about how it might affect your pregnancy or your baby? Do you want to know if the additional weight causes any health issues in your newborn?

If you can relate to the above concerns, you might want to read our post.

What Is Fetal Macrosomia?

Fetal Macrosomia refers to babies who are born with excessive weight, as compared to other babies. A baby with fetal macrosomia weighs more than eight pounds and 13 ounces. The particular birth weight is independent of the baby’s gestational age. Almost nine percent of all babies weigh more than eight pounds and 13 ounces.

In case your baby weighs more than nine pounds 15 ounces at the time of birth, he has a higher risk of contracting fetal macrosomia. Such a condition can also lead to risks if you experienced a vaginal delivery. There is a strong risk of injury to the baby at the time of birth, and the risk of heart problems at a later age is also high (1).

[ Read: Common Types Of Birth Defects ]

Causes Of Fetal Macrosomia

There are various causes that could lead to fetal macrosomia. Some of the most common ones that experts suggest are hereditary factors as well as the health of the mother during pregnancy. Here are some factors that could cause fetal macrosomia in your newborn:

  • Hereditary: If someone else in your family was born with excessive weight or if you or your partner had fetal macrosomia at the time of your birth. It is one of the most likely causes of macrosomia.
  • Overweight And Obese: If you were extremely overweight or obese when you conceived or if you gained too much weight during your pregnancy. It is one of the most likely causes of fetal macrosomia.
  • Diabetes, Before Or During Pregnancy: If you suffer from pre-gestational diabetes or gestational diabetes, your chances of giving birth to a fetal macrosomiac newborn is higher. If your diabetes is extreme, your baby’s shoulders may be larger, and your baby may have more body fat than other babies. If your diabetes is extreme, your baby’s shoulders may be larger, and your baby may have more body fat than other babies.
  • Unexplained Reasons: Sometimes, doctors are not able to explain a particular baby’s case of fetal macrosomia.
  • Previous Case Of Macrosomic Infant: If you had a baby who suffered from macrosomia earlier, your unborn baby is at a higher risk of contracting fetal macrosomia.
  • Successive Pregnancy: If this is a much later pregnancy and you have had multiple pregnancies earlier, your risk of fetal macrosomia increases a lot. The chances of fetal macrosomia increase with each subsequent pregnancy. It means that by the time you reach your fifth pregnancy, the average birth weight of each successive pregnancy will increase by almost up to 4 ounces.
  • Expecting A Baby Boy: If you are carrying a baby boy, you may have a higher chance of fetal macrosomia. Typically, boy babies are born larger than girl babies. In most cases, babies who are born with a weight that is more than nine pounds and 15 ounces have been boy babies.
  • Pregnancy Over Due: If your pregnancy has been overdue and you are past your full term, at least two weeks or so, your baby will be at a higher risk of having fetal macrosomia.
  • The Age Of The Expectant Mother: As you age, and if you are more than 35 years of age when you are pregnant, your baby is at a higher risk of having fetal macrosomia.

[ Read: Birth Trauma ]

What Are The Symptoms Of Fetal Macrosomia?

While you are pregnant, it can be quite difficult for your doctor to assess the condition of fetal macrosomia. Here are some common symptoms that your doctor may feel as pointing towards the same:

1. The Fundal Height Is Quite Large:

When you visit your doctor for those prenatal visits, your doctor will always measure your fundal height. It is the distance between the top of your uterus to your pubic bone. If your fundal height statistics is more than normal, it could signal fetal macrosomia.

2. Excessive Amniotic Fluid:

You may have an excess amount of amniotic fluid, a condition that is also known as polyhydramnios. The amniotic fluid surrounds your baby in the womb and keeps him protected throughout pregnancy. An excess of amniotic fluid is another sign of fetal macrosomia. The amount of amniotic fluid you have is also a result of how much urine your baby has created, as a larger baby will produce more urine than babies who are comparatively smaller (2).

Fetal Macrosomia Complications?

Fetal macrosomia can cause a host of complications, both for the baby as well as for the mother. Here are some complications that may arise as a result of fetal macrosomia:

For You:

1. Problem During Labor:

If your baby is diagnosed as having fetal macrosomia, it can cause some major issues during labor. Your baby may get stuck in the birth canal which can cause some serious damage to birth injuries. Your baby may need to be assisted out with the help of a vacuum or forceps, and you may be asked to go in for a cesarean delivery instead.

2. Genital Tract Lacerations:

At the time of birth, your baby can cause some serious injuries to the birth canal. Your vaginal tissues can get torn, and the muscles between your vagina and anus may get torn too.

[ Read: Complications During Pregnancy ]

3. Post Delivery Bleeding:

The muscles in your uterus may not properly contract after the birth, causing some serious bleeding.

4. Rupture In The Uterus:

Your risk of having a uterine rupture increases if you had a cesarean delivery earlier or have had any uterine surgery.

For Your Baby:

  • Lower blood sugar levels
  • Obesity
  • Metabolic disorders

If you are worried about your baby’s weight even while you are pregnant, speak to your doctor about it and check what you can do to keep it in check. If you experienced the same with your pregnancy, do tell us below.

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