Prevention, management, and outcomes of macrosomia: a systematic review of literature and meta-analysis

Obstet Gynecol Surv. 2013 Oct;68(10):702-9. doi: 10.1097/01.ogx.0000435370.74455.a8.


Macrosomia represents an obstetric challenge, and when suspected, there is no general consensus as to whether expectant management, induction of labor, or elective cesarean delivery are the best option. This review article was aimed to discuss literature published in the last decade about the identification, management, and outcomes of macrosomia. The identification of macrosomia remains uncertain, mainly because of the high heterogeneity across studies because of different definitions of macrosomia, gestational age at time of assessment, and fetal weight formulas. With regard to management and outcomes of macrosomia, 12,212 macrosomic neonates can be pooled from 17 articles. Compared with neonates with normal birth weight, the odds ratio of emergency cesarean delivery increases from 1.92 (1.53-2.42) to 2.24 (1.42-3.56) and 5.20 (3.47-7.79) for macrosomia 4000 g or greater, 4500 g or greater, and 5000 g or greater, respectively. The odds ratios of shoulder dystocia are 7.18 (2.06-25.00), 7.33 (5.13-10.48), and 16.16 (7.62-34.26) for macrosomia 4000 g or greater, 4500 g or greater, and 5000 g or greater, respectively. Three birth traumas were reported after cesarean delivery. Perinatal mortality is similar between macrosomic and neonates with normal birth weight at each cutoff of macrosomia. Nonetheless, limitations of current literature, which are also discussed in this review, do not allow to drive definitive conclusion about the management of macrosomia.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Fetal Macrosomia / complications
  • Fetal Macrosomia / prevention & control
  • Fetal Macrosomia / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Pregnancy