July 11th, 2011
05:11 PM ET

How does a newborn get to 16 pounds?

Jamichael Brown came into the world in a big way.

Weighing in at 16 pounds, 1 ounce, and measuring 24 inches long, he was delivered Friday at the Good Shepherd Medical Center, in Longview, Texas,  by caesarean section.

His mom, Janet Johnson, says she knew he would be big - expecting 12 pounds - but was surprised after delivery.

“He is heavy” she says, describing holding him. “He feels like 16 pounds.”

Jamichael’s large birth weight is the result of a condition called gestational diabetes, which his mom has.

According to Dr. David Kendall, the chief scientific & medical officer of the American Diabetes Association, it’s caused when a mother’s body produces a hormone and becomes resistant to its own insulin.

Since the insulin doesn’t work as it should to remove blood sugar, the high levels can be passed on to the baby. Kendall explains sometimes the infants are called “sugar babies” because they have been growing  from high amounts of blood sugar.

The babies don’t need all that energy, so their bodies store it as fat. He says as many as 1 in 10 mothers have the condition, but it is usually controlled with either diet changes or insulin. Johnson says she was taking medication and adjusting her diet after getting her diagnosis.

The number of cases of gestational diabetes is on the rise. According to a study by researchers in Colorado published in the Diabetes Care Journal the number of cases doubled between 1994 and  2002.

Babies of mothers with gestational diabetes can have health problems at birth. Jamichael has been in the hospital's neonatal intensive care unit, being treated for blood sugar and breathing problems.

His mom says he is doing well, breathing on his own, his blood sugar levels are reaching normal and “he’s going to be fine.”

According to the Mayo Clinic, women who suffer from gestational diabetes have high risk of developing high blood pressure, and are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes as they age. Exercise and eating healthy can help to reduce those risks.

As for Johnson she’s out of the hospital and headed home, hoping her son will follow soon.

Jamichael’s father, Michael Brown, told local CNN affiliate KLTV he sees football in his son’s future.

soundoff (230 Responses)
  1. Josh

    CNN could have saved us time and words by just summing it up:

    "A newborn can get to 16 pounds due to the ignorance, stupidity, and poverty of the mother."

    Let's see where this child ends up in life.

    July 12, 2011 at 07:58 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Realist

      AMEN! Josh is right.

      July 12, 2011 at 15:04 | Report abuse |
  2. shoos

    What version of the story were you reading? She was taking medication for the condition. Did she prescribe the medication to herself? Reading for comprehension...it does a mind good.

    July 12, 2011 at 08:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Fred

    OH!. I guess the fact the mother is 400lbs has nothing to do with it.

    July 12, 2011 at 08:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. MJL

    Hmmm I don't think the article was read very well. I was a gestational diabetic with all three of my children – I kept it under control with diet and exercise. My first 9 lbs, second 8.5 and third 7 lbs but he was 2 months early. You don't have to be overweight to become a gestational diabetic and 22 years ago when I had my first they didnt catch it until my 7th month. My second pregnancy I immediately switched over to the 2400 calorie diet – gained a mere total of 12 lbs and had a healthy 8.5 lb baby.

    July 12, 2011 at 08:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Ronnie

    Other conditions can cause gestational diabetes. In 1957 my mother gave birth to me..I was 4 lbs 11oz. She was not overweight but had hromonal problems which were passed on to me. Back in 1957 diabetes ws only a poorly-understood disease older people got so thre was no tests for gestation diabetes. I've had weight problems all my life and today I am a Type 2 diabetic so her hormonal problems were passed to me. I gve birth to my daughter in 1979 and due to loose guidlines at that time for weight management my dr allowed me to gain 100 lbs before I became toxemic. My daughter was born at 6 lbs 11 oz. Today she has PCOS and insulin resistant. When she got pregnant (due to the excennlt care of a good Endocrinologist) she gave birth to her daughter who was 7 lbs 10 oz. This time around my grandaughter will be put under good care becasue the Endo said that she has a 99.9% chance she will have the same problems. Sometimes being overweight is not the issue. If you have hormonal problems from birth it will lead to diabetes later in life no matter your weight.

    July 12, 2011 at 08:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Chloe

    I had gestational diabetes with my twins. They were born at 32 weeks and were 6lbs and 5lbs. Very large for their gestational age. But, I had been on hospital bedrest for 2 months and was diagnosed in the hospital. I ate meals that the hospital nutritionist designed and nothing else. I had a team of doctors and nurses checking on me many times a day. And my blood sugar was still out of control. Sometimes you can do everything right and your body doesn't cooperate.

    July 12, 2011 at 08:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. mom

    I have had diabetes since I was 7 years old, and at 31 had my first daughter. I have type 1 diabetes and weigh a healthy 130 lbs. I went to a high risk obstetrician every 2 weeks during my whole pregnancy. But also my family has a history of having large babies. My daughter weighed 9lbs when she was born via c-section.
    But my point is, i was very healthy and so was she. My A1C never got above 6.2 the entire time. Yes it was very difficult to keep my blood sugars under control, but it was completely worth it. iwas checking them 10 times a day sometimges to make sure i knew exactly what was going on. I was under a strict diet and knew exaclty how many carbs and protiens i should be eating. I can not understand why this woman would take such a risk and let her blood sugars get so high to cause such a large weight in her baby. If that is the biggest reason it was totally preventable.

    July 12, 2011 at 08:59 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Hanna

      Type 1 diabetes is genetics, and you have not control whether or not you get it. But, we are speaking of type 2, which is controlled and is why it is referred to as "adult-onset". If it gets bad enough, it can become GI diabetes. The diabetes you have is not preventable and unfortunately you are not able to get rid of it. But, type 2 diabetes is preventable, and with exercise and healthy diet, you can be "cured" of it.

      July 13, 2011 at 17:03 | Report abuse |
  8. Statistic

    I was 30 when I gave birth to my son in October. My starting weight was around 330, when I delivered I was 355 or so, so I gained about 25lbs my whole pregnancy. I've always exercised and paid attention to what I ate, and I did that even more when I got pregnant. Before my pregnancy I didn't have diabetes, high blood pressure, no health problems resulting in being obease, even though I weighed 330lbs. I was tested for GD and I didn't have it....I wished you could have seen the look on my OB's face because she had pretty much diagnosed me with it, I was already being told that I was going to have a big baby, they had already started giving me ultrasounds weekly to monitor his growth, because ONE ultrasound that I had done he was bigger than what he should have been at the time, personally I think he had a growth spurt in the womb and that's why he was bigger than what he should have been at that time. Anyway, I never had a high blood pressure during any of my visits through out my whole pregancy. I gave birth to my son 4 weeks early, he weighed in at 7lbs 4oz and 21inches long, I was in labor for 20 hours, blood pressure remained normal, and when it was time for me to push, I pushed him out in 2 minutes and 11 seconds, with NO PROBLEMS. I am an African American Woman, who was 30 years old, and weighed 355lbs at the time of my sons birth, and I had a NORMAL pregnancy and delivery. Everything that happens in life is NOT associated with being obease and overweight. Being as obease as I am, I had a pregnancy and delivery like I was a 125lb woman, being big doesn't mean you AREN'T healthy, being skinny doesn't mean you ARE healthy. Some of you really need to cut it out and take a DEEP look within yourselves.

    July 12, 2011 at 09:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. donna

    Just what the world needs.

    July 12, 2011 at 10:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. donna


    July 12, 2011 at 10:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. You're kidding

    "Jamichael"? What hat did they pull THAT one out of?? Poor kid.

    July 12, 2011 at 14:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Realist

    I'd bet taxpayers are paying for this baby as well as her other 3. It's fine if she wants to have a dozen this size as long as she and the father are paying the bills and supporting their kids. But it is NOT OK to have babies at taxpayers' expense.

    July 12, 2011 at 15:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Lea

    If this lady had prenatal care, her caregiver made serious errors in failing to diagnose and actively treat her. She should have had serial blood sugar determinations and serial ultrasounds and been admitted for treatment if outpatient care was not sufficient or if she was non-compliant. This baby ended up in intensive care at a cost of $1000 a day, which was avoidable. We all pay for that. Huge babies are NOT healthy babies. And, for the Dad, some 300 lb professional athletes were 4 lb premies.

    July 12, 2011 at 18:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Hanna

    One thing is very clear when going through most of the comments; many people, especially here in the US, do not take accountability for their own actions. Many always look for someone to blame for their own issues are self inflicted problems. This is one out of many reasons why the US: 1. Has the highest morbidly obese population 2. Spend more than 45 billion dollars treating the obese medically 3. Have the worst education system 4. Have the highest rate of self-confidence (which is entirely negative, but it depends on the reasons and to what extent). We are the only country where no one is required to learn multiple languages from childhood. Non of this is something to be proud of, and yet there are people on here are sound as though they are proud of the fact that they were able give birth with diabetes or what not, and so on. It's just a lot of excuses and nothing else. If you don't want to improve life and live denial towards a path of a destructive life, then go ahead, but do not make others pay for your consequences.

    July 13, 2011 at 17:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. john777

    My wife's friend had GD with both kids and she runs marathons.

    July 18, 2011 at 08:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. just my thoughts.

    I love how some of these women are suddenly experts. I suspect it is more of the need to be judgmental rather than them being experts. at 20 years old I became pregnant with my first child. I went from 140 to 165 and delivered a 5lb 2 oz baby girl. Pregnancy number 2 I went from 155 to 196 despite carefully watching every morsel I put into my mouth. Baby was 5 lbs 11 oz. I did not develop GD with my first two pregnancies. Baby number 3 at age 28. I was 165 at the beginning of my pregnancy, developed GD and weight 212 at the birth of my child. Baby number 3 weighed 5 lbs 12 oz. I have suffered from PCOS and a host of other hormonal problems since I hit puberty and my weight has always been an issue. However it should be noted that the women on my mother's side of the family regularly have small babies. My children ages 9, 7 and 2 are all very healthy if somewhat underweight (according to their doctors) and I am constantly advised that I need to get more calories into my children. We eat healthy in my house,with much of the food prepared from scratch.

    It should be noted that in order to avoid going on insulin during my last pregnancy, I had to eat such a strict diet that I ended up gaining almost no weight after the Gestational Diabetes was diagnosed and I still almost ended up on insulin. There are times when things go wrong despite our best efforts. No one knows what was really going on with this woman so who are we to judge?

    August 5, 2011 at 13:14 | Report abuse | Reply
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