In this article
Classification of Babies Based on Birth WeightFactors That Influence Birth WeightNewborn Weight LossIdeal Baby Weight for Normal Delivery and C-sectionWhen to See a Doctor
The joy and excitement of your baby's arrival can be marred by concerns about his health. A major concern is your child's weight at birth. So, how much should a newborn weigh?
Classification of Babies Based on Birth Weight
The weight of a baby at the time of birth is known as birth weight. It can vary depending upon the infant’s length, size of the head and circumference of the abdomen. Based on these measurements, doctors determine whether the birth weight of a child is normal or not. The average weight of a newborn baby delivered at full term can be anything between 2.7 kg to 4 kg. Newborns are classified into different categories on the basis of an ideal baby weight chart issued by the WHO:
High Birth Weight or HBW:
Babies born with a weight of more than 4 kg fall under this category. They’re kept under observation by doctors.
Normal Birth Weight or NBW:
This is healthy baby weight at birth and stands at 3.2 kg.
Low Birth Weight or LBW:
Babies who weigh less than 2.5 kg are said to be born with low birth weight.
Very Low Birth Weight or VLBW:
Babies who are less than 1.5 kg fall under this category. They’re kept under observation.
Factors That Influence Birth Weight
There are a number of factors that can be responsible for a newborn’s weight.They include:
Your diet plays an important role in the development of your baby. The more nutritious it is, the better the chances of your child being born with a normal birth weight. You can consult your doctor to get a detailed list of healthy foods to eat.
Weight of parents:
If you and your partner are thin and have slight build, chances are your baby will be born with a lower weight. On the other hand, if you gain too much weight during pregnancy, your baby may be born heavier. It’s important, therefore, to keep your weight in check.
Disorders like anaemia, diabetes, high blood pressure and a low-lying placenta can have an adverse effect on your baby’s weight. Regular check-ups and treatments are very necessary to help deal with these problems.
Mom’s medical history:
A history of miscarriages and other gynaecological problems can affect the birth weight of a baby. It’s always important to be frank with your doctor about your medical history to ensure a healthier birth weight for your little one.
Newborn Weight Loss
Most babies gain weight steadily till they are being exclusively breastfed. After they start consuming solid foods, they tend to drop a little bit of weight, as the body adjusts to the change in nutrition. There onwards they again show steady weight-gain. However, some newborn babies may lose weight instead of gaining weight steadily. Here are some of the reasons due to which weight of a newborn baby may reduce:
- Some babies have a larger appetite than others and may hence fail to gain weight if their nutritional requirements are not met completely.
- If your baby is suffering from some illness – like cold, cough, colic, gastro-oesophagal reflux disease (GERD), etc. – weight gain may be slowed down.
- Babies born at a low birth weight show prolonged weight gain difficulties. This is primarily because a low birth weight means low energy levels, which makes breastfeeding difficult and laborious.
- Lack of sleep can also be a big, oft-neglected reason for weight loss. Newborns need to sleep at least 18 hours a day. While some babies may just have a lower requirement, they still need to meet their sleep requirements.
- Some of the fluids that are administered during delivery (like those given for epidural, labour induction, or antibiotics etc.) reach the baby via the placenta. These fluids increase your baby’s weight so that the weight-loss observed after their birth is more accentuated.
Failure to thrive is a condition when a seemingly normal baby fails to gain weight. While this slows down the baby’s growth, it may also lead to weight loss in some babies.
- An exceptionally active baby may burn the calories she is consuming faster, thereby leading to her overall nutrition proving to be insufficient for her growth and weight gain.
Ideal Baby Weight for Normal Delivery and C-section
The procedure by which your baby was born – vaginal delivery or C-section – does not affect the birth weight of your baby. The procedure of delivery is nothing but a method by which your baby was born. It is not going to affect your baby’s birth weight.
The factors that actually affect your baby’s birth weight include your prenatal diet, exercise regime, your own pregnancy weight gain, your own birth weight, and your genes.
When to See a Doctor
As previously explained, the weight of your baby will see a typical trend of increase and decrease as your baby goes through different stages. Your baby’s birth weight will drop 7-10% within the first week of birth, following which there will be a steady increase in her weight. Thereafter, the second dip in the weight will coincide with the time you start feeding your baby solid foods.
A healthy, well-fed baby will follow this trend. However, if your baby is losing weight when she shouldn’t be, it may be wise to contact a doctor.
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When you know what the normal weight of a baby at birth is, you can do away with your worries. If your baby is born with a low birth weight in spite of the precautions you’ve taken, don't panic. Continue to eat a nutritious diet, consult your doctor, and breastfeed your baby so he can reach a healthy weight.
How much did your little one weigh at birth?