Most babies weigh between six to nine pounds at birth. While many people are aware of the risks premature and underweight babies face, fewer are aware of the risks associated with larger-than-average babies. “Fetal macrosomia” refers to an infant that weighs more than 8 pounds, 13 ounces. Fetal macrosomia occurs in just under 10 percent of newborns. While many babies with fetal macrosomia are born healthy, high fetal weight can increase the risks of birth injuries such as shoulder dystocia.
Potential Consequences of Fetal Macrosomia
Babies that meet the criteria for fetal macrosomia increase the chances of complications during labor and delivery. One of the primary concerns for large babies is the risk of shoulder dystocia. This condition occurs when the baby becomes lodged on the mother’s pelvis during delivery. The infant’s head is delivered, but his or her shoulders are too large to fit through the mother’s pubic bone. This potentially life-threatening condition must be immediately addressed. Shoulder dystocia may deprive the baby of oxygen which can cause brain damage in a matter of minutes. The condition may also place so much pressure on the baby’s neck and shoulders that the baby’s brachial plexus nerves are damaged.
Uterine rupture, a condition in which the uterus tears during labor, may also be caused by fetal macrosomia. This condition typically necessitates an emergency C-section. Fetal macrosomia may require the use of birth-assistive devices such as vacuum extractors and forceps which may potentially injure the infant. Vaginal tearing and other injuries to the mother may be caused by large birth weight as well.
How to Prevent Complications from Fetal Macrosomia
Women with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of over 30, those with pre-existing or gestational diabetes, and women over 35 years of age are more likely to have a baby with fetal macrosomia. Obstetricians and other medical professionals should obtain the mother’s medical history and note any risk factors for fetal macrosomia. Being prepared for the possibility of a large baby can help doctors take appropriate steps to lessen the chances of birth injuries to the mother or the infant.
If a doctor fails to adequately address fetal macrosomia or a resulting complication of the condition, the baby or the mother may suffer a preventable birth injury. The mother may be entitled to financial compensation through a birth injury claim.
Contact a Chicago Birth Injury Lawyer
If you or your infant suffered an injury during labor or delivery due to fetal macrosomia, you may have a valid birth injury claim. You may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, continuing medical needs, and other damages. A Cook County birth injury attorney from Birth Injury Law Alliance, LLC can investigate the cause of the injury and help you pursue compensation.