A 13-pound baby named Jihad was born in Berlin early on Friday to a 528-pound unidentified mother at Berlin’s Charité hospital, according to Germany’s English news site, the Local.
Baby Jihad, who joins 13 siblings, is reportedly the largest baby born naturally in Germany. Doctors said his 40-year-old mother suffered from gestational diabetes and likely a metabolic disorder, as well. While the woman reportedly said she did not know she had diabetes, doctors said she in fact was aware of her condition, but ate too many sweet foods.
“She insisted on a vaginal birth despite the very high risk,” Dr. Wolfgang Henrich, chief physician at Charite’s obstetrics clinic, told the Local. “We usually advise mothers carrying a child with an estimated weight of more than 4.5 kilos (about 10 pounds) to opt for a cesarean section to avoid complications.”
A rare genetic disorder can cause abnormally large babies, but usually, a heavy baby is because of diabetes in the mother.
Gestational diabetes is characterized by high blood sugar that begins or is diagnosed during pregnancy. Overweight or obese mothers are at greater risk of gestational diabetes.
While Jihad is a big boy, there are certainly some bigger babies who take the world title. In July, 16-pound Baby JaMichael was born in Texas. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Ann Bates of Canada gave birth to the biggest newborn, in 1879, when her baby weighed in at a whopping 23 pounds, 12 ounces.
“A mother’s weight prior to pregnancy, the amount she gains, and the level of her blood sugar all affect how big a baby will be,” said Dr. Alison Stuebe, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. “When a mother has gestational diabetes, her fetus is exposed to very high levels of glucose, and to compensate, the fetus releases lots of insulin. Insulin stimulates the baby to store the glucose as fat, increasing the baby’s birth weight.”
Experts said a woman’s uterus can indeed handle 13 pounds of baby (think twins), but the baby’s large size does not come without dangers.
“If delivery is attempted vaginally, but the fetus becomes ‘stuck’ in the pelvis, both the mother and baby have significant increase in health risks (for mother, bleeding and injury to her vaginal canal and uterus; for the baby, lack of oxygen during delivery),” Dr. F. Sessions Cole, director of newborn medicine at St. Louis Children’s Hospital in Missouri, wrote in an email. “For the baby, after delivery, babies who are very large (greater than approximately 9 pounds) are at increased risk of low blood sugar for several days after birth (persistent low blood sugar can cause injury to the baby’s brain which can have lifelong consequences) and serious birth defects (for example, birth defects of the heart).”
Mothers who deliver such large babies are at greater risk of vaginal tears, and babies are at risk of the shoulders getting stuck during delivery. The condition, called shoulder dystocia, can cause permanent paralysis in the affected hand. Babies are also at higher risk of diabetes, obesity and some types of cancer later in life.
“Jihad” is a term in Arabic that translates to the noun “struggle.”
“Both mother and baby are lucky that all went well,” said Dr. Joel Zonszein, professor of clinical medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. “But such a large baby is not a healthy baby, and the mother was irresponsible but lucky in the way she handled her pregnancy and the delivery. A mother that has 14 children should know better. “
- gestational diabetes