Identifying macrosomia in newborns is crucial for early intervention and appropriate medical care. By understanding its causes, signs, and preventive measures, new parents can take proactive steps to promote the health and well-being of their baby and themselves.
Bringing a newborn into the world is a joyous occasion, but it is essential for parents to be aware of potential health concerns. One such condition is macrosomia, which refers to the birth of a larger-than-average baby. While macrosomia mostly occurs on its own, medical providers can make the condition worse if they do not properly diagnose the newborn. Consult our team if you suspect negligence or inadequate medical care during pregnancy, labor, or delivery contributed to your newborn’s macrosomia.
Contact Rice, Murtha & Psoras today at (443) 339-8368 for a free assessment of your case with our Maryland medical malpractice lawyers.
How is Macrosomia Identified in a Newborn?
Expectant mothers and couples trying to conceive should be aware of macrosomia, which is a condition that refers to the delivery of a baby that weighs at least 4,000 grams or 8 pounds and 13 ounces. While there might be minimal health risks associated with macrosomia, serious complications can arise when the weight of the baby exceeds 4,500 grams or 9 pounds and 15 ounces. Babies weighing almost 10 pounds have an increased probability of facing birth injuries or illnesses, in addition to other issues after birth.
Doctors use ultrasound scans or fundal height measurements to diagnose macrosomia during pregnancy. The fundal height measurement assesses the distance between the top of the uterus and the pubic bone, and it’s the primary tool that medical practitioners use to identify any potential complications with macrosomia.
Excessive amniotic fluid, also known as polyhydramnios, is an indicator of a larger-than-average size of the baby. The volume of amniotic fluid is directly proportional to the baby’s urine output, and a baby with macrosomia produces increased urine output, which contributes to excessive amniotic fluid.
Obstetricians must take note of other risk factors that increase the likelihood of macrosomia, such as gestational diabetes, maternal obesity, post-term pregnancy, maternal age over 35 years, multiple previous pregnancies, and a prior history of macrosomia in earlier pregnancies. A combination of some of these risk factors should alert medical providers to suspect macrosomia and determine whether vaginal delivery will increase the risk of birth injury.
What Are the Symptoms of Macrosomia?
Although it can be challenging to identify the symptoms of macrosomia, medical advancements have made it easier to recognize this potentially dangerous complication. Doctors should not overlook the need to detect macrosomia, as it can pose a significant risk to both the mother and baby. Fortunately, there are some telltale signs and diagnostic tests that can help identify this condition. Among the most prevalent indications of macrosomia are the following conditions:
Height is Larger Than the Average Newborn
During pregnancy, healthcare providers use a method called fundal height measurement to determine the size of the fetus. This method entails measuring the distance between the top of the uterus and the pubic bone. The measurement is taken during a visit to an obstetrician-gynecologist (OBGYN) and is a crucial tool in determining fetal size, growth rate, and position in the later stages of pregnancy. This technique becomes a reliable predictor of fetal size as early as 20 weeks into the pregnancy.
The fundal height measurement is done in centimeters, with the measurement roughly corresponding to the number of weeks the woman is pregnant. For instance, if a woman has a fundal height of 24 centimeters, she is approximately 24 weeks pregnant, give or take a week. Any significant deviation from the average fundal height measurement could indicate macrosomia, a condition where the baby is larger than usual, and medical attention might be required.
More Amniotic Fluid Than Normal
During pregnancy, the baby is protected by a fluid called amniotic fluid. However, when there is an excess of this fluid, it is known as polyhydramnios, which is a common symptom of macrosomia. While there are other factors that contribute to this symptom, the most common one is related to the production of urine from the baby.
When a baby produces urine, it increases the amount of amniotic fluid. In cases where the baby is larger than average, it produces more urine, resulting in an increase in the amount of amniotic fluid. Additionally, other fetal issues that contribute to the baby’s size can also increase the amount of urine output, leading to an increase in the amount of amniotic fluid.
Can a Doctor Be Responsible for Macrosomia in a Newborn?
During pregnancy, it is crucial for doctors to closely observe and identify any potential or existing complications that might arise. While macrosomia is rarely caused by a doctor’s actions, it falls under their responsibility to diagnose and warn expecting mothers about the condition. Negligence in recognizing the condition or making the right call during delivery can lead to severe damages and legal liabilities for both the doctor and the hospital that employs them.
A doctor’s role in the natal unit is to ensure the well-being of both the mother and the unborn child. Any failure to perform this role correctly is considered a liability that falls on the practitioner and the hospital. Macrosomia is a common yet manageable condition that can be diagnosed with the tools and skills of a qualified doctor. When they fail to do so or neglect the emergency surgery needed after a failed diagnosis, the grieving family has every right to hold them accountable for their actions.
What Should I Do if My Newborn’s Macrosomia Was Not Properly Diagnosed?
If you suspect that your child might have been macrosomic but the diagnosis was not properly made, or if your child was indeed diagnosed as macrosomic, but the doctor’s failure to take appropriate action led to birthing complications and harm, we urge you to reach out to our firm. We understand that no amount of compensation can undo the injuries or tragic loss of your child. However, it can provide some relief as you navigate the immense burden of medical expenses and the emotional suffering you have endured.
Be sure to collect all relevant medical records, including test results, ultrasounds, and any other documentation related to your child’s diagnosis and treatment. This information will be crucial when you pursue legal action later.
Families should not endure the devastating impact of a birth defect. We understand the immense emotional and financial toll it can take. That is why our team is committed to supporting those affected by medical negligence. We are here to assist individuals in seeking justice and compensation for their losses by pursuing legal action against the responsible parties.
Our Medical Malpractice Attorneys Can Help
For a free case review with our dedicated Baltimore medical malpractice attorneys, call Rice, Murtha & Psoras today at (443) 339-8368.