Strange But True Pregnancy Tales
The scarcely believable stories that you’re sure are made up probably aren’t
The Family That Couldn't Stop Growing
"I must be made to have babies," marvels Jennifer Shuart, a Rochester Hills, MI, mom who has given birth to heavier and heavier babies with each of her three children. The first was 8 pounds, 15 ounces; the second 9 pounds, 14 ounces; and the last, 10 pounds, 15 ounces. This means her third child was 50 percent bigger than the average full-term baby, which generally weighs in at 7 pounds.
Nevertheless, the third baby's notable heft did not seem to affect Shuart's labor: "Three pushes and he was out," she says. "No epidurals or anything. When people saw him and heard I had him vaginally, they couldn't believe it. He was just humongous. He looked like a monster compared with the other babies in the nursery."
Of course, one should keep in mind that size is relative. "Even a 6-pound baby will be big for a 100-pound woman with a tiny pelvis," says Dr. Siddiqi. Still, any baby over 4,500 grams (9.75 pounds) is generally classified as macrosomic, or plain old big, by doctors.
"You don't want to deliver a baby that isn't ready," says Gerald Joseph, M.D., an ob-gyn at the Ochsner Clinic, in New Orleans, "but I had one patient who had already had two babies in the 10-pound range, with shoulder dystocia (when the baby's shoulder is too big for the birth canal) in the last one -- more common in babies over 9 pounds. She had anxiety about that and we ultimately induced her at 37 weeks." Like many women who deliver large babies (although not all, including Shuart), this patient was diabetic, a common medical cause of high birth weight.
With the development of insulin, doctors can now control diabetes in pregnancy more effectively. So they rarely see the gigantic births of years ago, such as the world record: a healthy 22-pound, 8-ounce boy, born in Italy in 1955. Nowadays, any birth between 12 and 13 pounds will likely set a hospital record.