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Women Study finds US birth weights inch down a bit

Posted by on Jan. 25, 2010 at 3:51 PM
  • 32 Replies

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/21/AR2010012103825.html

By LAURAN NEERGAARD
The Associated Press
Thursday, January 21, 2010; 5:01 PM

WASHINGTON -- U.S. newborns are arriving a little smaller, says puzzling new Harvard research that can't explain why. Fatter mothers tend to produce heavier babies, and obesity is soaring. Yet the study of nearly 37 million births shows newborns were a bit lighter in 2005 than in 1990, ending a half-century of rising birth weights.

The change isn't big: The average birth weight of full-term babies is just under 7 1/2 pounds, a drop of about 1.8 ounces, researchers reported Thursday in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology.

That's surprising considering doctor warnings about 9-pound, or bigger, babies. So the researchers double-checked.

The proportion born large for their gestational age dropped about 2 percent, which is good.

"What physicians are responding to is that the bigger babies are getting bigger," said lead researcher Dr. Emily Oken of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care. Plus, "babies are still bigger than they were 30, 40, 50 years ago. It's just the trend seems to have flattened or reversed itself."

That's particularly true for women at lowest risk for too-small babies: White, well-educated, married non-smokers who got early prenatal care. Still, their babies, on average, weighed 2.8 ounces less over the study period.

Babies born too big are at increased risk of obesity and diabetes later in life. On the other hand, babies born too small may require intensive care right away and also be at risk for later chronic diseases. The proportion of babies small for their gestational age did increase slightly, by 1 percent, Oken said.

Moreover, babies' length at birth suggests even full-term pregnancies are 2.5 days shorter than they used to be. That can't account for all the weight change, and Oken couldn't find a full explanation from the birth certificates she studied.

Oken excluded premature babies, as well as twins or other multiples, from her study. (Obese mothers also are at higher risk of having a preemie.) Yes, there are more scheduled cesarean sections or induced labors now, but her analysis concluded that wasn't to blame.

But that's not clear as induction often isn't listed on birth certificates, and the study found a drop in babies born at 40 or 41 weeks gestation, noted Dr. Joann Petrini, an adviser to the March of Dimes.

Regardless, it's too soon know what this drop means for babies but "we should keep vigilant" about any decline among the smallest newborns, Petrini said.

The study uses the most recent data available from official U.S. birth certificates.

Well Behaved Women Rarely Make History

Mom to
Camden Kent 12/11/07
&
Benjamin Emil 05/17/09

by on Jan. 25, 2010 at 3:51 PM
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Replies (1-10):
amyjane22
by on Jan. 25, 2010 at 7:15 PM

Interesting article....thanks for posting!

bump

~Amy~

                            
Wife to Jerediah    Mommy to Levi   

tashibaby
by on Jan. 25, 2010 at 7:20 PM

So when did an 8LP baby become big?

CTRedSoxMom
by on Jan. 25, 2010 at 7:22 PM

When OB's became lazy?


rolling on floor

Quoting tashibaby:

So when did an 8LP baby become big?


Well Behaved Women Rarely Make History

Mom to
Camden Kent 12/11/07
&
Benjamin Emil 05/17/09

mom2four1978
by on Jan. 25, 2010 at 7:23 PM

Do you think it has anything to do with women being more knowledgeable about a healthy diet during pregnancy? Also could it be that we also now know that we in fact do not have to eat enough food for two people when pregnant?

~ LIZZY~




To find out what all the fuss is about click the heart:

tashibaby
by on Jan. 25, 2010 at 7:25 PM

That sounds about right

Quoting CTRedSoxMom:

When OB's became lazy?

 

rolling on floor

Quoting tashibaby:

So when did an 8LP baby become big?



CTRedSoxMom
by on Jan. 25, 2010 at 7:25 PM

No, because studies are showing women are less knowledgeable, taking less childbirth education, and prenatal classes, and don't even know the length of a full term pregnancy.

I firmly believe that it is because of the drastic increase in labor inductions, and elective cesareans.

Quoting mom2four1978:

Do you think it has anything to do with women being more knowledgeable about a healthy diet during pregnancy? Also could it be that we also now know that we in fact do not have to eat enough food for two people when pregnant?


Well Behaved Women Rarely Make History

Mom to
Camden Kent 12/11/07
&
Benjamin Emil 05/17/09

Mommy2Kaelen
by on Jan. 25, 2010 at 7:28 PM

I would think a big baby would be like 10 or 11 pound babies.  I can't believe that 8 is big.     



Septpreggo
by on Jan. 25, 2010 at 7:29 PM

is the weight dropping for full term or preemies? i had a 9 lb 4.2 oz at 42 weeks, but i noticed a HUGE amount of preemies being born in my local area, so there birth weight was low, im wondering where all these preemies are coming from?

Life ain't easy when your cheesy

tashibaby
by on Jan. 25, 2010 at 7:30 PM

This too....

Quoting CTRedSoxMom:

No, because studies are showing women are less knowledgeable, taking less childbirth education, and prenatal classes, and don't even know the length of a full term pregnancy.

I firmly believe that it is because of the drastic increase in labor inductions, and elective cesareans.

Quoting mom2four1978:

Do you think it has anything to do with women being more knowledgeable about a healthy diet during pregnancy? Also could it be that we also now know that we in fact do not have to eat enough food for two people when pregnant?



CTRedSoxMom
by on Jan. 25, 2010 at 7:33 PM

According to the March of Dimes, many of them are coming from multiple pregnancies due to fertility treatments, as well as elective cesareans and inductions too early. Since due dates are not as accurate as we think they are, babies are being delivered at 36 weeks or 35 weeks when we think they are 37 or 38 weeks.  Those few weeks make a huge difference.

The number of LATE term preemies is sky rocketing.

Quoting Septpreggo:

is the weight dropping for full term or preemies? i had a 9 lb 4.2 oz at 42 weeks, but i noticed a HUGE amount of preemies being born in my local area, so there birth weight was low, im wondering where all these preemies are coming from?


Well Behaved Women Rarely Make History

Mom to
Camden Kent 12/11/07
&
Benjamin Emil 05/17/09

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