Any baby weighing 8 pounds, 13 ounces or more at birth is considered "oversized." But in the past two decades it's become increasingly more common for newborns to be tiny giants—and not just in gluttonous America where entitled expectant mothers are stuffing their face with buttered Pop-Tarts. It's happening in developing countries, too.
Headlines featuring the kind of birth weights that make your vagina wince—13 pounds, 14 pounds, 15 pounds, 16 pounds—have become more frequent in recent years. (I gave birth to an 11.5 pounder myself in 2011.) And according to a study published in the medical journal The Lancet, there has been a 15% - 25% increase in "oversized" births in developed countries. However, developing countries are having similar issues. In Algeria, 15% of babies born are "oversized," while 13.8% are too big in China.
Considering that women are often induced within two weeks of missing their due dates, babies don't really get much of a chance to get bigger because of longer gestational periods. So what's the cause of that kind of global epidemic? Experts believe that maternal obesity plays a large (pun sort of intended) role. But sometimes it's just genetics.
Perhaps it has something to do with medical interventions—like C-sections—that can save the lives of mothers and babies who would have both otherwise died in childbirth from getting a large baby stuck in the birth canal. (That can cause broken bones for the baby and tearing and, of course, trauma for the mother.) Or maybe babies are bigger in the past two decades because that's when smoking cigarettes while pregnant—which is linked with lower birth weight—became so taboo. So even if we don't know the cause right now, we can be sure of one thing: it will be blamed on the mother.
Image via Marlon Lopez MMG1 Design/Shutterstock