Maternal Diabetes

The chances of fetal macrosomia are more in the babies whose mothers suffer from either pre-gestational or gestational diabetes. Note that such babies are likely to have abnormally broader shoulders and body fat, making a vaginal delivery very risky.

A History of Fetal Macrosomia

mothers who already delivered a baby with the health condition are likely to deliver the next baby as well with fetal macrosomia. Similarly, if the mother had the health condition during her birth, the child is likely to suffer from the same disorder.


If the mother is obese or gained weight during the pregnancy period, the chances of delivering a baby with fetal macrosomia are more.

The Number of Pregnancies

The risk of delivering a baby with fetal macrosomia tends to increase with each pregnancy. It is to be noted that the average birth weight of the newborns is likely to increase by four ounces up to the fifth pregnancy.

Some other rare risk factors include;

  • Delivering a male infant since they are likely to weigh more than female infants
  • If your pregnancy is overdue by more than two or three weeks, the chances of delivering a baby fetal macrosomia are more.
  • Women who are more than 35 years of age are at higher risk of delivering babies with the health condition.

In case you are diagnosed with fetal macrosomia even if none of these factors are present, it can be because of some medical condition of your baby.


Fetal macrosomia poses many complications to both the baby and the mother during the childbirth and after. Some of those complications are listed below.

Maternal Risks

  • Genital tract lacerations
  • Labor problems
  • Uterine rupture
  • vaginal rupture
  • Bleeding post delivery

Newborn and Childhood Risks

  • Child obesity
  • Lower blood sugar level
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • High blood pressure
  • Abnormal cholesterol

Diagnosis and Treatment

Unfortunately, it is not possible to accurately determine the weight of the baby during pregnancy. Hence, a definitive diagnosis of fetal macrosomia can be made only after the childbirth. The tests your doctor may suggest in order to diagnose the health condition may differ according to the occurrence of various risk factors. Some of the commonly-employed methods to determine female macrosomia, however, include ultrasound scanning and antenatal testing.

Usually, vaginal delivery will not be recommended for women suspected of carrying an infant with fetal macrosomia. If it needs to be done, the doctors would use forceps or a vacuum pump to carry out the delivery. C-sections are usually recommended to such women if they are diagnosed with diabetes, if the baby’s weight is estimated to be more than 11 pounds, or if the shoulder bones of the infant get stuck behind the pelvic bones of the mother during delivery.

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    About the Author

    Dr. Ghassan M. Al-Jazayrly, MD

    A graduate of University of Aleppo Faculty of Medicine, Dr. Al-Jazayrly or, as he is colloquially known: Dr. AJ, is an oncologist and hematologist of a Complete Care Community Health Center (CCCHC) with more than 36 years of experience. In recent years, he’s been involved with a non profit organization known as Every Woman Counts (EWC) which provides free breast and cervical cancer screening and diagnostic services to California’s underserved populations in order to eliminate health disparities for low-income individuals.

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