An expecting British couple got a surprise during delivery six weeks ago: their baby was a very big boy.
Baby George King was born weighing 15 pounds, 7 ounces. According to some reports, he's the second largest baby ever delivered vaginally in the United Kingdom.
Doctors were caught off guard by George's size, which caused frightening complications. George's mother Jade told the BBC that during delivery, the baby's shoulders got stuck, depriving him of oxygen for five minutes and reducing his chance of survival to 10 percent.
"That's when, sort of, everything kicked off, really," Jade said. "There were about 20-odd doctors in the room. That's when it got really scary."
According to Yahoo! Shine, doctors don't know why baby George was so big. Last year, when Michigan mom Crista Hebel gave birth to a 12-pound preemie, Dr. Shieva Ghofrany, an OBGYN with Stamford Hospital told The Huffington Post that fetal macrosomia -- defined as a birth weight of more than 8.8 pounds -– can be directly attributed to maternal obesity and diabetes. But she clarified that those are not the only factors, pointing out that in the last five to six years, "babies have definitely been coming out bigger." Other factors contributing to rise of heavy newborns could be similar to the reasons posited for why girls are going through puberty earlier -– contaminants in food or hormones in meats, for example.
Dr. Ghofrany acknowledged that bigger babies might look cute, but said the trend is dangerous given that they are much harder to deliver. As Brooklyn-based midwife Miriam Schwarzschild told Yahoo! Shine, fetal macrosomia can contribute to post-birth hemorrhaging, and other risks include "enlarged organs, a fractured clavicle, and, like in George's case, oxygen deprivation."
Schwarzschild also said she found it "bizarre" that the the King's doctors were so surprised by baby George's size. "You estimate the fetal weight, always," she said. "I mean, you didn't ever feel her or talk to her or measure her? That doesn't make any sense."
George was kept in the hospital for four-and-a-half weeks after his birth, and doctors have kept an eye out for any lingering negative effects. The prognosis so far has been good.
"He's a little miracle," Mom said. "Well, big miracle, really."
While big babies may be on the rise, the Guinness Book of World Records says the heaviest baby ever born weighed in at 23 pounds, born to Anna Bates in 1879. No other newborn has tipped that scale yet, but here are seven who have come close.