If you just had a big baby, rather than picture him one day as a wrestling star, you should picture him (or her) one day having type 2 diabetes.
“Do big babies often end up getting diabetes” is not a silly question.
It’s one thing if the mother stands 6-1 and dad comes in at 6-4, and their new baby is much longer than average. Certainly, a tall baby (long bones) will weigh more than an average length baby of the same girth proportions.
An extra long baby isn’t necessarily extra pudgy. He or she can still be proportionate to a long stature.
However, a baby can be “big” without being longer than average. And this is where the diabetes problem comes in.
“Obese infants are more likely to become obese children,” says Dr. Lisa Lewis, MD, a board certified pediatrician in Fort Worth, Texas, and author of “Feed the Baby Hummus, Pediatrician-Backed Secrets from Cultures Around the World.”
“Obese children are at higher risk of type 2 diabetes in the teenage years and adulthood.
“Mothers who have gestational diabetes (pregnancy induced diabetes that resolves after childbirth) that is uncontrolled or difficult to manage during pregnancy tend to give birth to larger (LGA) babies.”
Gestational diabetes is the type 2 version and is highly preventable via having a healthy, fit body prior to pregnancy and maintaining fitness during pregnancy.
A woman with clinical obesity who never exercises and becomes pregnant is at high risk of developing gestational diabetes.
A woman who works out, who has that signature look of a trained body, who is not excessively overweight and sticks to a healthful diet is at extremely low risk of developing gestational diabetes. This means a much lower chance of giving birth to a big baby.
Just What Is a Big Newborn?
“An LGA (large for gestational age) baby is defined as a newborn whose weight is above 90%-tile for age compared to other babies,” says Dr. Lewis.
“To put size into perspective, LGA babies weigh roughly eight pounds, 13 ounces or more at birth.
“Typically, if a mother breastfeeds after birth, the baby will not gain an excessive amount of weight in the first year of life.
“If the infant is formula fed, the baby should not be overfed. The baby’s weight will be watched at clinic checkups and follow-ups.”
Preventing Obesity in a Baby: Current and Future
Dr. Lewis explains, “It’s important to prevent obesity very early to reduce the risk of diabetes later in life.
“Disclaimer: Parents who formula feed should not withhold formula if their baby is LGA, but should get advice from the doctor about feeding quantity and techniques.
“Further, mothers who have gestational diabetes are more likely to have type 2 diabetes later in life.
“Babies of mothers with gestational diabetes may also carry a genetic risk for type 2 diabetes.” Risk is the key word here, in that genetics loads the gun, but lifestyle habits pull the trigger!