A baby weighing in at 13.4 pounds and measuring nearly 23 inches was born naturally last week in a German hospital.
The baby’s mother was suffering from undiagnosed gestational diabetes that resulted in baby Jasleen’s being born at a higher birth weight, according to a translated news release from the University Hospital Leipzig.
Professor Holger Stepan, director of obstetrics at the hospital, said the facility had assembled a team of midwives and doctors to oversee the birth because of Jasleen’s size.
“We still decided to try a natural birth, as a child of this size and [with] the excess weight of the mother, a cesarean section would have been associated with significant risk,” Stepan said in a translated statement.
Jasleen’s mother, who arrived at the hospital for the birth, was not a patient there before that and Stepan said this was the largest baby he had delivered. The baby was doing well in the neonatal unit, the hospital said.
Dr. Katherine Economy, a maternal fetal medicine specialist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, said she was surprised the baby was delivered vaginally rather than through a cesarean section.
“I think it would be very, very unusual to not deliver via cesarean because birth injury risk is high,” Economy said. “[We] tend to be very cautious with babies like this. [If the mother had insisted on a vaginal delivery] we would have assembled team of experts and said a few Hail Marys.”
Economy said babies born at extremely high birth weights have a higher risk of suffering impacted shoulders or other nerve damage during the birth. In addition, Economy said that gestational diabetes can lead to stillbirth or a newborn having a higher risk for high blood pressure, childhood obesity and diabetes.
Cases of women delivering large babies naturally appear to be grabbing more headlines in recent years. Another 13 pound baby was born naturally in Germany in 2011 and a baby weighing nearly 14 pounds was born naturally to an Iowa woman in 2012.
But they pale in comparison to Guinness World Record-holder Ann Bates of Canada, who gave birth to the biggest child, in 1879, when her baby weighed in at 23 pounds, 12 ounces.