Does Your Baby’s Birth Weight Determine Their Future Health?

You may have envisaged your baby’s birth while they would still be floating in your tummy. Their tiny hands and feet, their little delicate body, their puckered crying face—those moments of seeing your baby for the first time are cherished ones that parents never forget.

However, a lot more follows after your baby comes out into the world. The doctors conduct an overall health checkup, which includes noting their length, the size of the head, and most importantly the weight of your baby at birth. The weight is then compared to the standards as per the week they were born it. Birth weight is an indicator of the baby’s health.

Weight At The Time Of Birth

A baby born between 37-40 weeks of pregnancy, weighing between 6 pounds 2 ounces (2.7 kilograms) and 9 pounds 2 ounces (4.1 kilograms) is considered healthy.

Most babies are born with an extra fluid weight (a few extra ounces), which is completely normal. They shun this extra weight in the subsequent days of their life. Babies lose about 7-10% of their birthweight—however, as they start nursing they regain

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the lost weight within 2-3 weeks after birth.1

Note: Losing or gaining too much weight after birth isn’t a sign of good health. It could be an indicator of disorders related to metabolism likes diabetes or obesity.

Low Birth Weight And Long-Term Risks

Low birth weight of baby could become a cause of concern. As per the ongoing standards, a baby who is full-term and weighs less than 5 pounds and 8 ounces (2.5 kilograms) at birth is said to have lower birth weight.

Low birth is associated with increased risks of diabetes, respiratory issues, heart problems, hypertension, and infections.2

Baby’s who weigh lower at birth are likely to become overweight later on in life. A study conducted at Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, McMaster University in Canada found that the risk of psychiatric issues like ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), anxiety and depression also arise due to very low birth weight as the child reaches the adolescence. Studies have associated low-birth-weight with the appearance

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of cognitive defects in adolescence.3

High Birth Weight And Related Risks

A higher birth weight could also become a harbinger of medical risks later in life. Such a higher birth weight is when baby weighs more than 8 pounds and 8 ounces.4

Higher birth weight occurs when the mother has diabetes during pregnancy or suffers from obesity. Babies born with higher birth weight have a risk of developing obesity down the road—which can be an invitation to a number of diseases.5

Tips For Moms

Your pregnancy habits and lifestyle has a direct effect on your baby’s health. There are ways in which you can prevent your child from facing the difficulties due to both low and high birth weight. Most complications develop due to

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lack of proper prenatal care.

Smoking, drinking, and doing drugs can cause unwanted medical issues in the growing baby, which may appear after birth in the growing years. Obesity and diabetes are also a pregnant mom’s worst enemy that can negatively affect the child.

Adopting a healthy lifestyle and gaining your pregnancy weight in a controlled way should be your prime aim when you are expecting. Your weight gain is determined by your BMI (Body Mass Index)—you must gain only so much weight as recommended by your health expert.

Moms should know that birth weight and length of your baby need not necessarily mean your child has a serious health risk. Some children, who are born tiny can shoot up in height in their teenage years. On the other hands, heavy babies could grow to be perfectly healthy. Remember, a healthy pregnancy can considerably decrease any risk of complications.

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