I screamed when I caught a sight of a three day old baby on my phone. This boy was so big, I thought he had been born since April, not this June. He had a full head of hair and chubby, rosy cheeks.
“Are you sure you just had this baby, or you have had him since April.” I asked the new mom, Jola. She sent me a laughing emoji and confirmed that she just had him days ago.
I proceeded to ask if it was a vaginal birth, or through C-section, and she told me it was a section as, first of all he was breech, and then he was big. So she had a c-section; her second in two years.
You would have felt sorry for Jola, while she was pregnan. She was huge and she had rashes all over her body. She was always feeling hot, and lived in tank tops towards the end of her pregnancy.
At a time, it was even speculated she was expecting twins, because her bump was just huge.
When I visited Abidemi, who had her baby last year in the hospital, she told me how she had known the difference between her baby and a set of twins, who had been born same day as her baby.
“I carried one of the twins, and I immediately felt the difference. That was when I knew my baby was really big, so the days I spent in the hospital waiting for her to show up were really worth it.”
Her husband chipped in, “When I warned you off all the chocolate and sweets, you wouldn’t listen! Now, we can all see the result of all the shortbread you have been eating.”
In response, Abidemi told him how he should be grateful they had a big baby, at least there would be no accidents involving baby, just because someone didn’t know a baby was there.
Some people have big babies naturally. My neighbour is one of those blessed women and her bump isn’t always that big, but the babies always happen on the scene looking like three month old babies, and they just grow bigger as the months roll by.
Apart from women who naturally have big babies, there are certain conditions during pregnancy which can result in big babies, and we will be discussing them further down this article:
Some years back, a still TTC mom told me how she was going to “drill” her son, because she knew he was going to be big (she was tall, not so slim and her husband is also on the big side). Long story short, she’s still waiting for that big baby and I pray that baby comes soon, however God wants it to come to them.
Genes from both father and mother have an impact on the size of the baby.
You don’t have to eat for two just because another human being is inside you, because the foetus you are carrying is not an adult and is just a tiny being. Based on the activity level and build, most females need about 1,400 to 2,200 calories on a daily basis. So, keep a check on your diet so as to avoid gaining weight more than necessary. Also, exercise regularly.
Blood sugar levels affect the baby size:
Women who have a higher BMI are believed to have a higher level of sugar in their blood. This is one major factor which determines the size of the baby. The sugar levels in the blood increase the production of insulin. This works as a growth hormone.
The risk of a big baby for Type 2 or gestational diabetes is majorly associated with higher blood sugar levels. When a woman begins her pregnancy at a healthy BMI, eats a healthy whole food diet and remains active throughout the pregnancy, her risk of acquiring gestational diabetes is massively reduced. So, make healthy choices and be assured that the risk of the larger baby will be reduced.
Women with Type 1 diabetes are at a higher risk of having a larger baby. However, when you work closely with your maternal fetal medicine doctor, or an endocrinologist, you can ensure that you and your baby remain healthy.
It should be noted that pregnancy isn’t the time to try fad diets or attempt to lose weight. It is a great time to try lifestyle changes though!
Even if your BMI stays the same throughout pregnancy, a good diet and exercise can greatly reduce your risk of gestational diabetes and having a large baby.
Mothers who plan a baby post 35 usually have a larger baby. This is usually because of the medical conditions that become more prominent as you age. Teens, on the other hand, are at a risk of having a smaller baby.
Older mothers are more likely to have large babies, the researchers said in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.
The risk of a large baby went from 3 percent in the very youngest women, to about 6 percent in 30-to-35-year-olds, to roughly 10 percent in moms over 40.
For the very youngest mothers, the link between age and the risk of delivering a small baby was mostly due to social factors (such as ethnicity, education level, and how many times a woman had given birth before) and lifestyle factors (such as such as diet, smoking and alcohol use).
Interestingly, none of the factors above could explain why the risk of having a large baby went up in older women.
Gestational age at birth
The majority of weight gain occurs during the third trimester, especially during the last four weeks prior to delivery.
During the last month, weight gains of as much as one half pound per week are possible. Therefore, the time of delivery definitely has an impact on birth weight.
Big baby, small baby, a healthy baby trumps them all in the end.
Cheers to healthy babies.
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1. NIDDK Image Library