By Dr Rita Bakshi
Health is one of the prime concerns of expecting parents. Everyone wishes to have a baby with dimples and chubby cheeks. It becomes indispensable to know about almost everything while you are pregnant and foremost being the ideal weight of the baby. It is very essential to track the baby’s weight and height from the very first day to avoid any kind of complications in the future.
The ideal weight of a newborn baby, who is born between 36-40 weeks, should be between 2.5 – 4.5 kg. A premature baby or any other such case will differ from baby to baby and is affected by several contributing factors.
Here are the various factors that can influence the baby’s normal birth weight:
Diet of the mother during pregnancy
It is always stressed upon that expecting mothers eat a diet rich in vegetables, fresh fruits, vitamin and minerals to ensure the good health of the baby. The little one is completely dependent on his or her nutritional values, growth and development on the mother. Thus, the diet she takes during pregnancy is of prime importance. The mother should not compromise on her diet during this phase as this can lead to low birth weight of the baby.
Augmented levels of stress
Stress can leave unexpected and negative effects on the health of the baby. Mothers who have had a lot of stress during pregnancy are at a higher risk of having preterm and low birth weight babies. It is always suggested to mothers to avoid engagement in activities that can be stressful for them and to rest properly.
There are several cases where the baby can be actually born later than the expected date or even earlier than the due date. The weight is also dependent on the Gestation Age as a preterm baby can have nutritional deficiencies and a lower birth weight than a full-term baby and vice versa.
In cases where the mother is expecting twins and triplets, the babies have to share the space and nutrition. The mother’s nutrition is divided and therefore, in cases where there are multiple babies, they tend to have a lower birth weight. Also, they do not get ample space to develop and grow properly in the uterus.
The health of the mother during pregnancy
The lifestyle of the mother really affects the birth weight of the baby. Mother’s with habits like drinking, smoking or with gestational diabetes can leave life-threatening effects on their children. It is very important and vital that women maintain a very healthy lifestyle while they are pregnant to ensure that the general health of the baby is taken care of.
(The writer is Senior Gynaecologist and IVF Expert, International Fertility Centre.)