How Much Should Your Birth Weight Be? How does the baby grow in the first months? Let’s find out what a child’s weight depends on.
Birth weight is the first piece of information asked when a new baby is born. A nice weight has always been a symbol of a healthy, strong and therefore healthy child. The average weight of full-term babies, therefore born between 37 and 41 weeks, is about 3.4 kg. This can depend on sex (usually males are born older) and growth during pregnancy. The children most at risk are those who are born very young because a newborn can lose up to 10% of their birth weight (weight loss). But what affects the baby’s weight at birth?
In this article
Birth weight: environmental factors
Environmental factors are those such as the mother’s lifestyle and nutrition. Inadequate nutritional intake and the use of smoking, alcohol or drugs can adversely affect fetal growth. This is why it is best to prevent and talk to your doctor to choose a balanced diet together.
Maternal fetal placental factors
A normal functioning of the exchange system between the mother and the fetus, expression of a correct formation of the placenta, is essential to ensure adequate fetal nutrition. Alterations in the formation, and consequently in the function of the placenta, can compromise or make inadequate the transport of nutrients and oxygen to the baby.
Genetics play an important role in determining low or high birth weight, according to a study conducted as part of the EU-funded DYNAHEALTH, LIFECYCLE, EDCMET, EUCAN-Connect and CAPICE projects. The study showed that the genetics of mother and child in most cases affect the weight of babies born at term, if those babies fall within the lower or higher 10% of the birth weight range.
Underweight or overweight newborn: the causes
The newborn may be born underweight if born prematurely, i.e. before the 37th week of gestation or due to intrauterine growth retardation.
For mothers with diabetes, obesity or excessive weight gain during pregnancy, it is easier to give birth to an overweight baby. This is why during pregnancy it is useful to follow a correct diet, adapted to the body and weight of the mother. In mothers who develop gestational diabetes, the control of blood sugar, with beneficial effects on the control of fetal growth, is made possible with a specific diet. The examination of the glycemic curve is generally prescribed between the second and third trimester of pregnancy, therefore between the 26th and 28th week of gestation. It is better to repeat the blood glucose test before giving birth to assess the state of health in view of a possible anesthesia for cesarean.
How weight increases in the first few months
But how much does the baby have to grow in the first year?
For the first 2-3 months, monthly weight gain should be at least 150 grams per week, so around 600 grams per month.
To the sixth month the average weight reached by the child corresponding to the 50th percentile will be approximately 7.2 kg for females and approximately 7.9 kg for males.
TO 12 months the average weight achieved corresponding to the 50th percentile will be approximately 9.5 kg for females and approximately 10.3 kg for males. Beware, however, that only the pediatrician will be able to assess whether the baby’s growth proceeds normally.
What are the growth percentiles
When measuring the growth of the newborn, reference is made to the so-called “percentile tables” or growth curves, ie graphs where the percentage values of weight and height of children can be read, broken down by sex and age. The curve of the graph corresponding to the 50th percentile represents the “mean” of the population. The pediatrician then measures the weight and height of the newborn by placing it on the graph at each visit and calculates the percentiles. This will form a curve to see the growth of the baby, the line called the “growth curve”.
Article sources: Cordis Europa and Poliambulatori San Gaetano