They say everything is bigger in Texas. Perhaps that holds true for childbirth as well, as a pregnant woman from the Lone Star State gave birth last Friday morning to a baby boy that weighed in at a whopping 16 pounds, almost double the weight of the average newborn.
JaMichael Brown, born to Janet Johnson and her fianc©, Michael Brown, also measured 24 inches long at birth, just a few inches shy of an average one-year-old. He now holds the title for the biggest baby ever born at Good Shepherd Medical Center in Longview, Texas.
The previous record was set by a child born in 1988 who weighed just over 15 pounds, Victoria Ashworth, the hospital’s marketing director, told Reuters on Tuesday.
JaMichael was born at 9:05 a.m. Friday July 8 and the official weight was recorded at 16 pounds and 1 ounce. The mother delivered the JaMichael by scheduled Caesarean in her 39th week of pregnancy, just a few days early, according to hospital officials.
The state is checking to see if JaMichael breaks the state record for Texas-sized newborns.
Dr John Kirk, Johnson’s obstetrician, said the couple had expected a few weeks before that they were going to have a big baby, and he predicted he would weigh in at about 12 to 13 pounds. But JaMichael even surprised the doctor.
“He was much larger than expected,” said Kirk. “Both his mother and father are large people, and she was diagnosed with gestational diabetes, which contributed to the baby’s size.”
“They’re calling him ‘Moose’ up here,” JaMichael’s father told ABC News affiliate KLTV.
Kirk said the delivery wasn’t induced at an earlier time because they wanted to wait to make sure the baby’s lungs were fully mature.
“While infants of diabetic mothers are large in size, their organ function is not more developed,” Dr. Manuel Porto, a professor and chairman of obstetrics and gynecology at University of California at Irvine, told ABC News Good Morning America. “In fact, their lung development may be delayed. Early delivery can lead to respiratory problems for the newborn.”
Johnson was released from the hospital on Tuesday but remains there until JaMichael, who is under observation in the neonatal ICU, gets released in a few days.
Ashworth told Reuters that the JaMichael is “stabilized and is just being observed and watched carefully.”
JaMichael may be making waves as possibly the biggest baby ever to be born in the land where everything is bigger, but he is not the biggest baby ever born.
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Ann Bates of Canada gave birth to the biggest newborn in 1879. The baby weighed in at a staggering 23 pounds and 12 ounces.
Having a large baby can not only break records, it can be quite traumatic as well, especially for the baby.
“A baby gets this large usually because a mother has poorly controlled diabetes and the baby is getting extra glucose calories during the pregnancy,” Dr. Ian Holzman, chief of newborn medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, N.Y., told ABC News Good Morning America.
Risks to the baby include birth trauma that includes nerve damage to the arms, abdomen or injury to the head, as the doctor pulls the infant out if delivered vaginally, explained Holzman.
“There is also a risk of low blood sugar in the baby after delivery because the baby’s pancreas has been making extra insulin to deal with the extra sugar,” he added. “Once the sugar spigot is turned off the insulin causes the baby’s blood sugar to drop.”
Kirk said the hospital will continue to monitor JaMichael over the next few days and try to bring his blood sugar levels back to normal. Kirk warned the parents of the increased risk due to the baby’s size, but remained optimistic, and happy to report that they are doing well.
“He’s really only had some minor problems,” said Kirk. “We have made them aware of the possible complications down the road, but hopefully, they’ll continue to be under medical care and we’ll keep an eye on them.”