Suspicion and treatment of the macrosomic fetus: A review

Suneet P. Chauhan*, William A. Grobman, Robert A. Gherman, Vidya B. Chauhan, Gene Chang, Everett F. Magann, Nancy W. Hendrix

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

215 Scopus citations


Objective: To review the prevalence of and our ability to identify macrosomic (birthweight >4000 g) fetuses. Additionally, based on the current evidence, propose an algorithm for treatment of suspected macrosomia. Study design: A review. Results: According to the National Vital Statistics, in the United States, the prevalence of newborns weighing at least 4000 g has decreased by 10% in seven years (10.2% in 1996 and 9.2% in 2002) and 19% for newborns with weights >5000 g (0.16% and 0.13%, respectively). Bayesian calculations indicates that the posttest probability of detecting a macrosomic fetus in an uncomplicated pregnancy is variable, ranging from 15% to 79% with sonographic estimates of birth weight, and 40 to 52% with clinical estimates. Among diabetic patients the post-test probability of identifying a newborn weighing >4000 g clinically and sonographically is over 60%. Among uncomplicated pregnancies, there is sufficient evidence that suspected macrosomia is not an indication for induction or for primary cesarean delivery. For pregnancies complicated by diabetes, with a prior cesarean delivery or shoulder dystocia, delivery of a macrosomic fetus increases the rate of complications, but there is insufficient evidence about the threshold of estimated fetal weight that should prompt cesarean delivery. Conclusion: Due to the inaccuracies, among uncomplicated pregnancies suspicion of macrosomia is not an indication for induction or for primary cesarean delivery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)332-346
Number of pages15
JournalAmerican journal of obstetrics and gynecology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2005


  • Cesarean delivery
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Estimate birth weight
  • Induction
  • Macrosomia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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