When a baby is suspected of being large, it is known as macrosomia or Large for Gestational Age, states Macrosomia.com. The condition is often formally diagnosed when a baby weighs more than eight pounds, thirteen ounces at or before birth. To prevent the condition from becoming an issue, doctors will often recommend that women with LGA babies undergo a cesarean section birth. However, a new study indicates that the methods which doctors use to diagnose the condition are often inaccurate.
The study, which was recently published in Maternal and Child Health Journal, reports that only 20 percent of women who are told their babies are LGA actually deliver infants who fall into that category. Even though the percentage of actual large babies is so small, when macrosomia is suspected women experience a significant increase in interventions, including cesarean section births. The study indicated that women who were convinced their babies were LGA were almost five times more likely to request a scheduled caesarean birth than other women, even though it may be an unnecessary major surgery.
According to the New York Times, the use of ultrasound technology may play a critical role in improperly diagnosing the condition. Although many doctors stick to the belief that ultrasound technology is never more than one pound off in accuracy, many patients experience errors by as large as 30 percent. This can result in babies being born before they are ready, extended stays in the neonatal intensive care unit, and even death.
In 2014, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists indicated that suspicion of a large baby should only rarely indicate the need for a cesarean section delivery. Despite the new guidelines, doctors still continue to recommend increased interventions when babies are suspected to be LGA.