Big baby boom: Supersize deliveries have doctors worried

For many moms around the world, the risk of having a big baby has increased along with rising rates of obesity, and the higher rates of gestational diabetes that come with delaying childbearing. And while everyone loves a chubby newborn, a baby who is too large at birth can face a constellation of health issues ranging from a difficult birth to an increased risk of obesity later in life.

Overall, there’s been a 15 percent to 25 percent increase in babies weighing 8 pounds, 13 ounces or more (or 4,000 grams, the weight where a baby is considered oversized) in the past two to three decades in developed countries, according to a February report in the medical journal The Lancet..

Most surprisingly, the developing world has also started seeing an increase in big babies. The Lancet study found that nearly 15 percent of babies born in Algeria — where maternal obesity is almost 30 percent — fit that category. In China, which has been coping with rapidly rising obesity rates, 13.8 percent were big. By comparison, in India, where maternal obesity is only 3.6 percent, a scant 0.5 percent of newborns were very large.