The average weight of babies has been going up for the last 30 years but the number of 'large' babies has gone up by a staggering 20% in the last decade - and the trend seems to be continuing. The question is why?
According to an article in The Guardian recently, the average birth weight is now 7lb 8oz and while this is not far from the 1970 average of 7lb 6oz, the number of babies over 9lb 15oz has increased significantly. The article goes on to say that most health professionals class a baby over 9lb 15oz as 'above average' but is a large baby a healthy baby and what is best for mum?
In our little poll of mums, there were mixed views about the ideal birth weight with some suggesting that a heavier baby is both easier to look after and stronger in later months. Others felt that an 'average' weight baby is better for all concerned as they are more mobile and less likely to lose as much weight in the first few weeks. Our little panel wasn't even in agreement that a smaller baby is easier on mum at birth, so clearly there are lots of views and lots experiences to take into account.
Our standard of living has increased dramatically in recent history as has the quality of medical care we all enjoy so it seems logical that there is a link between these factors and birth weights. The issue is what should we and what can we do about it.
The advice appears to be the same as it has for many years - eat a balanced diet for you and baby and let nature take its course. Is there cause for concern with the increase in birth weight? Opinion is split.