As the birth injury attorneys of Passen & Powell are only too well aware, larger and oversized babies carry with them the risk of mild to severe injuries to both the infant and the mother. Oversized babies, and the negligent failure of the physician to recognize the situation and take precautions, are a risk factor for brain injury, cerebral palsy, shoulder dystocia, prolapsed uterus, extensive tearing in the mother, and many other problems.
Unfortunately, a recent study shows that both the weights and lengths of American babies is increasing, and has been for the past several decades. The study, which was published in the current issue of The Journal of Pediatrics, used babies in southwestern Ohio as subjects, and looked at data from the area going back to 1929.
The increase dates back to around 1970. Babies born after 1970 were around a pound heavier than babies born before that date. In addition, babies born after 1970 were more than half an inch longer than babies born before that year.
As a result, babies which would have been considered larger-than average in the 40s, 50s, or 60s are considered average, or even small, today.
These differences, however, even out by about one year of age. The larger infants, however, do not experience slower growth. Instead, the babies born “smaller” – or average for a few decades ago, are experiencing faster growth in their first year, catching up with their larger counterparts. And the researchers did not find any relationship between birth size and later childhood obesity.
The researchers had no definitive answers for the increased size of infants. One possible explanation, however, lies in the size of modern mothers. As a general – but often violated – rule, larger maternal size can lead to larger infants at birth. Maternal BMI (body mass index), like the BMI of other Americans, has risen in recent decades, as well. In the 1930s and 40s, only around 18 percent of mothers had BMIs in the category of “obese.” Between 1990 and 2008, however, nearly half of mothers fell into the category.
The study’s authors include Ellen Demerath, an associate professor of Epidemiology and Community Health in the School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota.
Armed with the knowledge that babies’ size at birth is increasing, it is especially important that obstetricians and other medical providers take extra precautions to prevent birth injuries. The failure to evaluate the infant’s size, and to use monitoring or opt for a c-section where appropriate to avoid injury to the mother and baby can constitute actionable medical negligence.
If you or a loved one have suffered maternal injury or birth injury such as brain damage or cerebral palsy, regardless of the size of the child at birth, talk to an experienced birth injury attorney. Your attorney can help you to determine whether medical malpractice was responsible for your child’s injuries, and can help you to decide whether to take legal action.
If you have any questions about a traumatic birth injury matter, please give us a call us at 312-527-4500 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a complimentary consultation. You can also learn more by following us on Twitter, reviewing our LinkedIn or Avvo.com pages, and by reviewing our website.