As new parents you may have often been asked the birth weight of your baby by friends and relatives. Even though this is a frustrating question, your baby’s birth weight is an important statistic for you to know and keep track of in the years to follow.
From the moment your child is born, you will find the doctors recording the weight, the size of his head, height, and other physical features. Ever wondered why is that so? Well, it is important to ascertain that your baby’s physical attributes fall within the normal range, thus indicating that your little one should be reaching all developmental milestones as expected. Any unusual gain or fall in weight is an indication of an underlying developmental or health concern and must therefore be addressed immediately.
All newborns do not weigh the same. A bigger baby does not necessarily signify perfectly good health; neither does a small baby mean the child is unhealthy.
Weight is influenced by genetics and several other factors. An average newborn baby weighs between 2.5 kgs to 3.5 kgs. That is not to say that there aren’t babies that weigh more than 3.5 kgs, because there are several of them. Similarly, some babies weigh less than 2.5 kgs as well. If your baby weighs less than the average weight, doctors will want to check to see if any problems are inhibiting the child’s growth and suggest solutions accordingly.
Following are a few of the factors affecting a baby’s birth weight:
The height and weight of the parents often matter when it comes to the baby’s birth weight. Taller and bigger parents are more likely to produce bigger babies. Shorter parents with petite frames give birth to babies with similar features.
Twins, triplets, quadruplets, and more are much smaller than babies born singularly. Due to the limited space in the uterus, they often come out of the womb prematurely and are smaller in size.
In cases of twins or more babies from the same pregnancy, those that come out first are often smaller than their sisters and brothers.
Although, the difference may be a slight one, baby boys are often larger than baby girls and weigh more.
The health of the mother is another significant factor that influences birth weight. Mothers with a history of drugs and substance abuse, alcohol consumption before or during pregnancy, tend to have smaller babies at birth. Poor diet and certain medical conditions like heart problems or high blood pressure may also lead to the birth of underweight babies.
Nutrition is very vital for growth. Poor diet of the mother affects babies in the womb and leads to underdevelopment. Even after birth, poor nutrition affects the baby’s rate of growth. If the mother feeds well and gains a lot of weight when pregnant, the extra nutrients will be transferred to the child through the placenta, leading to a baby’s weight gain.
Birth defects and other medical issues could greatly influence a baby’s weight during and after pregnancy.
Premature babies weigh less and tend to be smaller than babies carried to full term. How early the child was born will also determine birth weight. The missed opportunity to grow in the womb affects the baby’s weight. This is the reason why doctors recommend special treatment procedures to aid a premature baby’s growth after birth.
Big babies with plump cheeks are generally associated with a healthy baby. However, it must be remembered that babies with larger body frames above the average may require special medical attention. In a few cases, babies, whose mothers suffer from diabetes are often larger than average. Mothers who suffer from gestational issues may also produce bigger babies.
Yes. Babies do lose weight after the first few weeks of birth but that is something that is expected. Weight reduction is normal, and in most cases, they lose between seven and ten percent of their birth weight. But after a few weeks, the lost weight should be regained.
A big or small baby may not maintain the same size and weight into childhood and adulthood. Some babies are born small but eventually increase in weight and height later on. Therefore, predicting an individual’s size using their birth size may lead to inaccuracies. Babies tend to resemble their parents later in life. Hence, using the sizes of both parents as a barometer to predict their baby’s future size is more logical. You do not need to worry too much about your baby’s birth weight; overall good health of the child should be the prerogative.
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