COMMENTARY I thought squeezing out an almost nine-pound baby vaginally was rough. Kendall Stewardson gave birth to a 13-pound, 13-ounce baby boy in Des Moines, Iowa on Jan. 26. The baby, Asher Stewardson, also has a younger brother born 15 months earlier who weighed 12 pounds, 1 ounce. The Associated Press reported that only 1 percent of all babies born even top 11 pounds at birth, a fact many moms are likely happy about.
The world record in regards to infants born without surgery, was taken in 1879 to a Canadian woman in Ohio who pushed out a whopping 23-pound, 12-ounce baby, which sadly did not survive. Another woman, Carmelina Fedele of Italy, gave birth to a healthy 22-pound, 8-ounce baby boy in 1955. He did survive according to the Guinness Book of World Records.
The average newborn is about five to eight pounds. The size of both parents, of course, can factor in to baby size, but the recent increase in super-sized babies ranging from 12 to 16 pounds is likely due to an increase in gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes is a condition which can lead to increased fetal growth. Rates of the condition have been on the rise for some time, nearly tripling in the last decade, according to a study done at Northwest Memorial hospital in 2018 suggested. Lead author of the study, Boyd Metzger, M.D, believes this may be due to the growing rate of obesity, which is a risk factor for gestational diabetes.
Having had gestational diabetes in the pregnancy that produced said almost nine-pound baby, I can attest to the baby enlarging power of the condition myself. It’s important that those planning a pregnancy or currently pregnant review the risk factors for gestational diabetes and stay current with proper prenatal care. While little Asher was born healthy after six hours of labor, many over-sized infants are not so lucky. Birthing a large baby is dangerous both to the baby and his or her mom. In many cases, proper lifestyle changes can make a world of difference in slowing fetal growth in mothers with gestational diabetes making labor and delivery easier on everyone.