Crista Hebel, Mom, Gives Birth To 12-Pound Preemie Baby

Michigan mom, Crista Hebel, 26, went into labor and gave birth four weeks early. However, baby Ayara was no ordinary preemie -- she weighed in at 12 pounds, 3 ounces.

"My jaw dropped when I heard that number in the operating room, but I knew that was in the realm of possibility," Hebel told the Record-Eagle.

The new mom was already making arrangements for a caesarean section because of the baby’s unusual estimated size, but went into labor while being treated for dehydration, the paper reports.

Hebel said on Tuesday that Ayara, who was born Sunday, was doing well in the neonatal intensive care unit. "Everyone in the NIC-U tells me it's very hard to remember she was born premature because she's so large."

Dr. Debra Kurtz said in 21 years of practice Ayara set the record for the biggest baby she’s delivered yet. Dad, Bob Hebel, was quoted as saying that his daughter’s size was not because of a medical condition. "She's just a very large child,” he said.

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 -– is certainly on the rise and mothers should be concerned. In a recent study, researchers found that infants in a control group were, on average, 100 grams heavier than they were 50 years ago. And though there's been no scientific evidence of a definitive trend, Dr. Ghofrany says that in the last five to six years, "babies have definitely been coming out bigger".

Biggers babies might look cute, she said, but the trend is dangerous for two reasons: Large babies are harder to deliver and higher weights might be indicative of other medical issues for both mom and baby. Right now, Dr. Ghofrany said, fetal macrosomia can be directly attributed to maternal obesity and diabetes. But that doesn’t mean those are the only factors, she explains. Babies might be heavier for the same unexplained reason girls are going through puberty earlier, but there's only been speculation about possible causes for either phenomenon -– contaminants in food or hormones in meats, for example.

While big babies may be on the rise, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, the heaviest baby ever born weighed 23 pounds, to Anna Bates in 1879. No other newborn has tipped that scale yet, but here are seven who have come close.

Heaviest Babies