Barker’s Theory states that a baby’s nourishment before birth and during infancy, as manifest in patterns of fetal and infant growth, programmes development of risk factors for disease in later life. With UK obesity on the rise, one expects to see an increase in the gestational weight of newborns; and hence possible re-distribution in services required: both antenatal and postnatal.
Aim To investigate a possible rise in the frequency of babies born ⩾4 kg.
Methods Retrospective data collation –01/01/97 till 09/11/07. Sources included ‘log books’ & computer databases. Inclusion criterion = gestational weight ⩾4.00 kg.
Results The average number of deliveries per year was 2962; of these babies born a mean of 11.4% were ⩾4 kg (range of 10.1–12.7%). Of babies born ⩾4 kg the mean percentage requiring instrumental deliveries was 12.3, with the range being 8.6–15.9. This can be compared to a mean 12.2% of babies requiring instrumental deliveries, irrespective of weight. Looking at the same group of babies but this time at those requiring caesareans, the range was between 20.7–31.2% with a mean of 27.8%. This can be compared to a mean 24.1% of babies requiring caesareans, irrespective of weight.
Conclusion Despite an increase in obesity there appears to be no subsequent ‘trend’ in the frequency of macrosomic babies. However there is a need for prospective studies within different regions in the UK looking at similar data, perhaps including maternal weight and BMI prior to and during pregnancy.