Hundreds of super-size babies born at the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust

PUBLISHED: 07:00 20 April 2019

Hundreds of super-size babies born at the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust. Picture: Radar

Hundreds of super-size babies born at the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust. Picture: Radar

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Hundreds of super-size babies were born at the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust last year, new figures reveal.

There were 3,580 babies born and weighed at the trust in the 12 months to March 2018, according to NHS Digital data.

Of these, 440, or 12 per cent, tipped the scales at 4kg or more - the equivalent of 8lb 13oz.

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) says this is the benchmark for a baby to be considered large – the medical term for which is macrosomia.

Unusually large babies can cause difficulties during labour and delivery, according to the RCM.

Clare Livingstone, RCM professional policy advisor, said: “This could include a higher risk of shoulder dystocia, when the shoulders get stuck and impacted by the woman's pelvis, which can require some maneuvering to help the baby out.

“There is a risk of injury with these deliveries, but it is a very small risk.”

Women with significantly large babies are also more likely to need a caesarian section.

Almost 60,000 babies born across England during the same period weighed in at 4kg or over - 11 per cent of the total.

The highest proportion of big babies were born at the Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust in North Yorkshire, where 16 per cent of babies weighed at least 4kg.

Barts Health NHS Trust in London had the smallest proportion, with just seven per cent.

Obese mothers – those with a body mass index of 30 or over – are twice as likely to have a baby weighing at least 4kg, according to the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG).

Patrick O'Brien, consultant obstetrician and RCOG spokesman, said: “There are a number of factors that may increase the risk of a baby being born larger than average.

“These include a woman with a history of having large babies, going past her due date, being overweight or obese before or during pregnancy, and certain medical conditions, such as diabetes.

“Women are encouraged to eat healthily and exercise before conception and during pregnancy.”

Babies born at the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust most commonly weighed between 3,000g and 3,499g (6lb 10oz - 7lb 11oz). More than a third of babies fell into this category.

Jo Bassett, deputy head of midwifery and gynaecology at the RD&E, said: “We recognise the increased risks associated with having a large baby. Some of the factors that increase the likelihood of having a large baby cannot be mitigated however we encourage women to seek advice and guidance from the midwife on how to reduce the chance of having a large baby.

“This includes maintaining a healthy weight before and during pregnancy, keeping active and eating a healthy balanced diet. We also screen certain women who are at risk of developing diabetes in pregnancy so that those 'at risk' pregnancies can be monitored.”

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