During pregnancy, several tests can be performed to monitor the development of the fetus and calculate if it is according to its age. Knowing its weight and approximate measurement is helpful to rule out or detect possible problems during pregnancy and at the time of delivery so that better decisions can be made that favor the survival of the newborn.
Because good growth of the baby is an indicator of good health, it is common for many parents, especially new ones, to wonder how much a baby should weigh at birth? To solve this question and other doubts related to the subject, we invite you to read the following FastlyHealarticle with complete information.
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Factors that can determine the weight of the newborn
Each newborn is different, and that this does not weigh or measure the same as another baby of the same age may be related to various factors, some of which are considered normal. In contrast, others are alterations that can be avoided not to harm the child’s development and growth. Among these factors, the following stand out:
- Genetics of the parents. Although it is not a determining factor, the weight and size of the newborn are usually closely related to the height of the parents or the tendency of the same in the family history. Therefore, tall and stocky parents tend to have larger babies than those whose parents conceive with a smaller body complexion.
- Duration of pregnancy. To achieve normal development and growth of the fetus, it is considered that it is born at an interval of 37 to 42 weeks of pregnancy. So, as a general rule, babies born earlier than these weeks tend to weigh less and those conceived after week 42 tend to be larger.
- Having multiple pregnancies. If you have more than one child simultaneously, it is widespread for delivery to occur before 37 weeks, and, therefore, newborns tend to have a lower weight. In addition, the weight and size of babies are restricted by the space they must share in the uterus, being more noticeable when it comes to more than three fetuses, and even between them, there may be a slight difference in weight at birth.
- Eating habits in pregnancy. An inadequate diet that does not provide the nutrients that the fetus needs can impede its proper development and growth, causing the baby to be born prematurely or underweight. The same happens if the mother uses alcohol, tobacco, or drugs. On the other hand, if the future mother gains weight due to poor eating habits, the newborn will likely exceed the average weight.
- Alterations in women during pregnancy. Suffering from high blood pressure, serious infections, anemia, and problems with the heart, kidneys, or lungs can be a risk cause of having a newborn with low birth weight. On the other hand, an overweight baby can be conceived if the mother has diabetes.
- Baby diseases. The importance of the newborn can be affected if it is infected with any pathology that the mother has acquired during pregnancy, if it suffers from a disease due to a genetic alteration or by inheritance or if it presents congenital malformation since they could prevent the adequate developing the fetus or causing labor to occur prematurely.
The average weight of a baby at birth
At the time of birth, the baby’s weight and measurement values are obtained to compare them and indicate if they are appropriate for his age, but how much should a baby weigh at birth? On average, if delivery occurs between weeks 37 to 42, which is considered normal, the newborn’s weight should be 2,400 kg to 4,300 kg and measure between 45.5 cm to 53.5 cm.
Suppose the baby presents values slightly below or above this average. In that case, the cause should be analyzed. It does not necessarily mean that they have a problem since they are perfectly healthy in many cases, especially if the pregnancy reaches full term. However, the specialist may keep you under supervision for added security.
On the other hand, if the baby weighs less than 2,400 kg, it is considered low birth weight; if the weight is less than 1,500 kg, it is light birth weight, and below 1 kg it is tiny. In most cases, when the weight is less than usual is due to premature birth. That development within the uterus has not been completed, so they are usually small and have a thin appearance with a giant head than their body.
On the other hand, if the weight at the time of birth of the baby is more significant than 4,300 kg, it could be a case of fetal macrosomia, that is, it is too large, and above 4,500 kg, the possibility of suffering a complication increases, in addition of how difficult delivery can be due to the size of the fetus, which is why it is usually more advisable to carry out by cesarean section.
Risks of inadequate weight in the newborn
The fact that the newborn child does not weigh within the normal average does not always mean that they will have problems in their growth, since in various cases, in a couple of months, they recover a normal condition; However, it must be taken into account that these differences in weight can lead to complications and risks that should not be ignored, so it is essential always to have medical assistance and go for periodic check-ups until the specialist deems it appropriate.
When the newborn weighs more petite than usual, he can have complications from birth since his body may not be as resistant, having problems with breathing, feeding, controlling his body temperature, or developing infections. While in these cases, there is a greater risk of long-term learning and psychomotor problems or suffering from hypertension, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.
Babies with high birth weight are at risk of being injured during vaginal delivery and suffering from neonatal asphyxia or meconium aspiration syndrome. Likewise, it is prone to have low blood glucose levels, present respiratory problems, polycythemia, or be diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, a group of disorders such as hypertension, hyperglycemia, and alteration in cholesterol levels that result in a risk of diabetes, heart problems, or stroke.
This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.
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I am a Surgeon with a diploma in comprehensive ultrasound and surgical care residency, an area I am specializing in. During the exercise of my profession, I have realized the need for patients to know the diseases they suffer, and I can tell you that a large part of their complications is due to a lack of information. Being a health web writer allows me to transmit my experience, without borders, to all those readers eager for knowledge, educate them in the prevention of diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle.