Learning About a Large for Gestational Age (LGA) Baby

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What is an LGA baby?

A "large for gestational age" (LGA) baby is bigger than an average baby. An LGA newborn weighs about 9 pounds or more at birth.

Women are more likely to have an LGA baby if they have diabetes, have gained a lot of weight while pregnant, or are obese.

What happens when you have an LGA baby?

Giving birth to an LGA baby can be hard on the baby and the mother. In a vaginal delivery, the large baby has to squeeze through the narrow birth canal. The squeezing can injure the baby's shoulders or arms. The mother may have more difficult and painful labor. The doctor may recommend that the baby be born by cesarean section.

At birth, your baby may have low blood sugar and trouble breathing. The doctor will watch your baby carefully after birth for breathing problems. Your doctor may also do blood tests. He or she will track your baby's blood sugar for up to a day to make sure it is normal. Most LGA babies go home from the hospital within a few days.

How do you care for an LGA baby?

  • Make sure your baby feeds normally. Getting enough to eat will help keep your baby's blood sugar at a normal level.
  • Your doctor will give you care instructions if your baby had has injuries from the delivery.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.