Doctors are responsible for carefully monitoring both the mother and baby to ensure the pregnancy is progressing normally. One possible complication that can arise is fetal macrosomia. The condition refers to a baby being larger than average for its gestational age.
Pregnant women who have been diagnosed with fetal macrosomia require proper medical attention as the baby could be at risk for serious, and sometimes even fatal, birth injuries. The delivery process can put the baby in danger of nerve damage, oxygen deprivation, shoulder dystocia and other health problems.
Fetal macrosomia is defined by the estimated weight of an infant being higher than around 90 percent of other babies in that same age range. Most doctors consider the average weight of full term babies to be between eight pounds, 13 ounces and nine pounds, 15 ounces. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, just over 10 percent of all pregnancies in the United States result in macrosomia.
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Fetal macrosomia often requires early labor induction or a cesarean section as the condition makes normal delivery difficult. If normal childbirth does occur, a larger than average baby may become stuck in the birth canal. As a result, doctors may have to use birth-assisting tools or perform an emergency C-section.
Among the major causes of fetal macrosomia are maternal diabetes and obesity. While it may not be possible to prevent fetal macrosomia, the doctor should monitor fetal growth to determine whether a mother may be at risk for the condition. Failing to do so could leave infants vulnerable to birth injuries.
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