What Does My Baby’s Birth Weight Mean?

What does your baby's birth weight mean?

How much should my baby weigh at birth?

On average, a full-term baby weighs between 6 pounds 2 ounces and 9 pounds 2 ounces. The majority of babies lose a little weight right after birth. This is actually a loss of excess fluid, and it isn’t an indication of a health problem. However, if your baby loses a lot of weight, that might be a sign of a health issue.

It is important that your baby doesn’t weight too much or too little at birth because both conditions are linked to metabolic disorders like obesity and diabetes.

When a baby is considered a low birth weight baby?

A full term infant weighing less than 5 pounds, 8 ounces at birth is considered a low birth weight baby or small for gestational age of 39 weeks. Statistically speaking, approximately eight percent of all babies are this small at birth.

What are the long term effects of low birth weight on the child’s overall health?

While not all small babies have an increased risk of health problems, their small size may indicate a problem with nourishment and development if they do not catch up in the years after birth. This can lead to future issues such as obesity and diabetes because their bodies are mismatched for the foods they eat as children.

Someone born small can more easily put on weight if their bodies have been programmed in the womb for limited food after delivery. Once they are freely eating as young children, and if high carb and high fat foods are plentiful, they will have a problem with weight control.

A study conducted by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development examined low birth weight children when they were eight years old and 14 years old.

The researchers observed that there was “catch-up” growth among low birth weight children and increased rates of obesity. They concluded that this was evidence of “long-term health effects for metabolic and cardiovascular disease”.

Another important finding was the 25 percent asthma rate among low birth weight children between the ages of eight and fourteen years old. This was attributed to abnormal lung development and function.

When is a baby’s weight considered to be too high?

If a newborn ‘s weight at birth is above that of 90 percent of newborns of the same gestational age, then that baby is considered large for his/her gestational age. After the baby is born, his/her gestational age is measured by examining factors, such as their weight, length, head circumference, vital signs, reflexes, and muscle tone. The baby’s developmental gestational age may not be the same as his/her calendar age.

Are their problems associated with babies who are considered large for their gestational age?

Surprisingly, babies who are born large for gestational age may be at some of the same risks for infants born small. If a mother is diabetic or puts on too much weight during pregnancy she may program her baby for obesity and diabetes later in life. This reflects the influence of too much nourishment during pregnancy. Certain genes may be turned in in the baby in utero; these genes may it easier to store food and gain weight later in life. This can make your child more prone to obesity and diabetes as they grow up. That is why it is best to aim for no more than 25 pounds of weight gain during pregnancy. You can right size your baby for his or her whole life.

[Featured Image Courtesy of arztsamui / Freedigitalphotos.net]

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