Women in some parts of the UK are up to five times more likely than others to give birth to super-sized babies, analysis of birth records has revealed.
A range of factors can influence the likelihood of having an unusually large baby, including a mother’s weight and age, genetics, gestational diabetes, and a baby being overdue.
So where in Scotland are the biggest babies born – and what proportion of babies born in your area tip the scales at a potentially problematic weight?
How big is a big baby?
Babies are considered unusually large if they weigh at least 8lb 13oz, or four kilograms – the equivalent of four bags of sugar. The medical term is foetal macrosomia.
Babies this size can lead to complications during labour, and mothers are more likely to need a caesarian section.
Our analysis of data from health bodies across the UK nations shows between one in seven and one in 10 babies have macrosomia, with those in Northern Ireland most likely to be on the chunkier side.
The latest data for each nation covers different time periods so the comparison between countries is imperfect. There are also differences in what the data covers, with some countries excluding stillbirths or multi-baby births.
But within each nation there is enormous regional variation in the proportion of babies born with macrosomia.
We explore the figures for each nation in more detail below – and reveal the local areas with the biggest babies.
How big are Glasgow babies?
The data shows that 10,222 babies were born in Glasgow in the year ending March 2021, not including multi-baby births (e.g. twins).
Of that figure, 1115 were born weighing more than 4000g - 10.9 per cent of the total.
That’s the smallest percentage in Scotland - 12.3 per cent of babies born in the Highlands are big, the second lowest percentage in Scotland.
Where are the biggest babies in Scotland born?
Around one in seven (13.3%) babies born in Scotland in the year to March 2021 had macrosomia, according to Public Health Scotland (PHS) figures.
But women living in the islands of Orkney and Shetland were almost twice as likely to have big babies – 24.4% and 26.2% respectively.
Babies from Dumfries and Galloway were the next heaviest, with 16.2% at least four kilograms, followed by Tayside (14.9%) and Western Isles (14.8%).
Shetland’s figure was the highest for any local area in the UK.