updated 16 Nov 2011, 20:29
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Fri, Oct 07, 2011
The New Paper
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They wanted a natural birth
by Amanda Phua and Koh Hui Theng

MEET Jordan Krysta Atiga - the heaviest newborn baby in Singapore.

Born through a caesarean section at 10.41pm at Thomson Medical Centre last Thursday, she weighed 6.055kg and measured 57cm.

Even our two-page spread, 53cm across, can't show her fully stretched out.

Her parents are Mr Neli Atiga, 36, a music director and pastor of Samoan descent, and Mrs Cristina Atiga, 39, a businesswoman of Filipino and Eurasian descent who is now a Singapore citizen.

Jordan is their third child. Daughter Nazareth, four, and son Zion, one, weighed 3.95kg and 4.74kg respectively at birth.

The previous record in Singapore was held by a 5.8kg newborn.

In 2009, an Indonesian baby made headlines when he weighed 8.7kg at birth. Measuring 61cm in length, Akbar Rissudin, which means "the Great" in Arabic, is the third child of his mother, Ani, 41.

Doctors attributed his record weight to his mother's diabetes.

The Guinness World Records lists the weight of the heaviest baby ever born as 10.77kg. The baby, born in the US in 1879, died 11 hours after birth.

During the pregnancy, their friends and family showered the couple with brand new clothes for their third child.

But Jordan Krysta Atiga, who was born last Thursday, is so big that she can't fit into any of them. Her parents, Mr Neli Atiga, 36, and Mrs Cristina Atiga, 39, will be giving away the clothes. Mr Atiga is waiting for the result of his PR application while Mrs Atiga has been living here for 11 years.

They had expected Jordan to be a big baby like their first two children, who weighed 3.95kg and 4.74kg respectively at birth.

But her 6.055kg weight took them by surprise.

Jordan has been warded at Thomson Medical Centre as she has jaundice, but the Atigas expect to take her home today.

When they visited her on Monday, Mrs Atiga took some jumpers meant for three-month-old babies to see if Jordan could wear them.

Placing one over Jordan's body, she furrowed her brows as she said: "No, I don't think this will fit her."

But when she tried another brightly coloured piece, she exclaimed happily: "Oh, I think this will fit her!"

Jordan was expected to tip the scales at about 4kg and Mrs Atiga was determined to have a natural delivery without an epidural, as she did with her two other children.

But after 11 hours of induced labour, the couple took up the doctor's offer of a caesarean section. "If I kept pushing, I would have been at risk," Mrs Atiga said.

Mr Atiga, who was in the delivery suite, said: "I saw my wife go through a lot of pain. If I knew that she was going to be so big, I would have asked for a c-section from the start."

The music director and pastor at Every Nation Church was shocked when he saw the scales tip 6kg. But when the nurses handed his baby to him, the beefy 1.8m-tall man could not put her down for the next 30 minutes.

He said: "It's very comfortable carrying Jordan. There's security in her size and her weight." He was so comfortable carrying Jordan on one arm that he whipped out his mobile phone and posted his joy on Twitter, calling his wife his "Superwoman".

Mrs Atiga cradled Jordan for the first time on Sunday. She could not to do so earlier because she could not get out of bed after the caesarean section, and Jordan was in the ICU for observation. "She feels so firm and so strong. That's the advantage of having a big baby. They are easy to handle," she said.

Jordan has a small bruise on her cheek, the result of doctors using forceps during the delivery. Her head wouldn't fit the width of the forceps and they had to pull her out by the cheeks, chuckled Mrs Atiga. As for the size of their babies, Mrs Atiga says of her husband: "It's his Samoan genes."

During the pregnancy, Mrs Atiga never suspected that Jordan would be so big because Jordan's position during the scans did not allow for accurate readings.

When she was warned her blood sugar level was dangerously high, she took more care about what she ate.

Slim limbs

Mrs Atiga, whose limbs remained slim, said: "I had no idea that all the weight was going to Jordan." The day before she gave birth, she was shopping in furniture store Ikea.

She recounted: "At least eight people came up to me and asked if I was having twins. Singaporeans don't really do that because they are mostly shy.

"Others were just nudging and pointing at me. I didn't realise that my belly was so big. But when I asked Neli, he was like, yes, you are big."

While carrying Jordan, Mrs Atiga continued being active in church, participating in a musical and recording a CD for her church.

She found no difficulty in travelling and even closed business deals.

"That's why I say that Jordan has been so good to me. I could continue being so active."

The couple plan to have more children.

Said Mr Atiga: "We would like to have number four. A boy, I hope, to even out the kids."

Jordan's statistics

Weight: 6.055kg
Length: 57cm
Amount of milk each feed the week after birth: 110ml
How often she's fed: Every three hours

Average baby's statistics

Weight: 2.5 to 3.5kg
Length: 48 to 52cm
Amount of milk each feed for week-old baby: 60 to 90ml
How often they're fed: Every two to four hours

Risks of having a big baby

A baby weighing more than 4kg at birth is considered larger than average in Singapore, say doctors at KK Women's and Children's Hospital (KKH).

Mothers delivering big babies face some risks, said obstetrician and gynaecologist Dr Christopher Ng ,who has a clinic at Camden Medical Centre.

They include:

  • Tears and injuries to her genital tract 
  • Excessive vaginal bleeding if the womb fails to contract properly after delivery Urinary or faecal incontinence 
  • After difficult deliveries, the vagina could also become lax over time

Dr Ng suggested mothers of big babies "do pelvic floor exercises to tone up the muscles and continue doing so after delivery".

Big babies could also face complications during delivery because of their size.They also have a higher risk of developing obesity and diabetes.

Senior consultant and head of KKH's Department of Neonatology, Associate Professor Victor Samuel Rajadurai, said: "Their lungs may be immature, which increases breathing difficulty."

This article was first published in The New Paper.

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