Revealed: Number of ‘super size’ babies born at Newham and Royal London hospitals and Barkantine centre
- Credit: PA Archive/PA Images
New figures have revealed the number of ‘super size’ babies born at the Newham and Royal London hospitals and birthing centre last year
There were 15,130 babies born altogether in the 12 months to March last year at the hospitals and at Barkantine centre in Millwall, all run by Barts Health NHS Trust.
But NHS Digital data showed 1,050 of them, seven out of every 100, tipped the scales at 8lb 13oz (4kg) or more.
Unusually large babies can result from a mother’s obesity or from diabetes.
The large weight can cause difficulties during labour and delivery, according to the Royal College of Midwives.
“This could include a higher risk of shoulder dystocia,” the college’s Clare Livingstone warned.
“That’s when the baby’s shoulders get stuck and impacted by mum’s pelvis, which can need some maneuvering to help the birth.”
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Women with significantly large babies are also more likely to need a caesarian section.
But the nationwide data shows that Bart’s has one of the smallest ratios of above-average weight babies of any NHS trust, partly due to its programme of controlling diabetes which is above the national average in east London.
A Barts Health spokesman said: “We have had success with our diabetes screening and treatment which is preventing complications including contributing to larger-size babies.
“The growth of babies during pregnancy is assessed using criteria that adjusts to the mothers’ height, weight and ethnic group, which makes comparison based purely on birth weight complicated.”
Factors that may increase the risk of a baby being born larger than average include the mother being overweight or obese before or during pregnancy, according to the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. Medical conditions like diabetes which has a high rate in east London also play a part.
Patrick O’Brien, consultant obstetrician at the Royal College, said: “Obese mothers are twice as likely to have a baby weighing 9lb or more. Women should eat healthily and exercise before conception and during pregnancy.”
The ratio of larger babies at Barts is small compared to other areas. Four out of 10 babies born at the Newham and Royal London hospitals and the Barkantine centre weighed an average between 6lb 10oz and 7lb 11oz.
The highest proportion of ‘big babies’ was at Harrogate in Yorkshire, where 16pc weighed 9lb or more.