The average birth weight of UK babies has increased by 2oz for boys and 1 ½ oz for girls in the past 40 years. New stats have shown that mums today are far more likely to give birth to a 10lb plus baby than ever before.
The average birth weight is now 7lb 8oz for boys and 7lb 4oz for girls and while there’s no set figure for an ideal birth weight, The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) considers 8lb 13oz to be the weight where births can start to become difficult.
“While most people think the bigger the baby, the healthier it is, there is mounting evidence to suggest the opposite: in fact, babies carrying too much weight at birth will live with the consequences for the rest of their lives,” Dr Daghni Rajasingham, from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said.
One of the reasons for bigger babies is that mums are getting bigger. Obesity rates are increasing rapidly and obese mums are more likely to have big babies. Though a low birth weight can cause medical problems, such as premature birth and ongoing health issues, going too far to the other end of the scale brings its own problems for the baby.
Big babies can also bring problems for mums, including difficult labours and an increased likelihood of a caesarean.
The best thing you can do in pregnancy is to stay active with pregnancy-approved sports and exercises and bear in mind that contrary to the old wives’ tale, you’re unfortunately not eating for two.