As mothers across Washington know, their pregnancies are full of unknowns that can be both exciting an scary. One of these unknowns is a baby’s size, which can determine whether or not they are at a higher risk for a birth injury.
According to Romper, there is no way to know just how much a baby will weigh before he or she is born, but there are some ways to estimate. Doctors can measure the mother’s fundal height, which is the distance between the top of her uterus to her pelvic bone, or they can estimate the baby’s size through an ultrasound. Babies who weigh more than 8 pounds, 13 ounces, are considered large, and also called fetal macrosomia. There are several risk factors for fetal macrosomia, including gaining a lot of weight during pregnancy or having diabetes (whether it is Type 1 or 2 or gestational). Babies who are large are more likely to go through a difficult birth, which can mean a doctor needs to use a vacuum or forceps in delivery, and a difficult birth can also cause a birth injury.
One injury, called Erb’s Palsy, is a risk for larger babies. As OrthoInfo.com explains, this is a nerve injury from the baby’s neck being stretched too far in one direction during birth, and it can weaken or cause loss of motion in the baby’s arm. Erb’s Palsy occurs in one birth in every 1,000, and while many children regain some feeling and use of their arm through daily physical therapy, not all do.