Fetal Weight – A Guide to Increasing Baby Weight During Pregnancy

A Guide to Increasing Baby Weight During Pregnancy

If you’re pregnant and everything are going fine until your doctor tells you that your baby’s weight isn’t rising as it should, congratulation. India has had one of the highest rates of Low Birth Weight and Preterm Births in the world (35 percent). This is compounded by the fact that preterm delivery and low birth weight account for more than 40% of all child deaths in India. As a result, it is critical for expecting mothers in India (and the rest of South Asia) to monitor fetal weight gain during the pregnancy months.

The fetus is totally dependent on the mother for all its nutrition needs. A pregnant mother needs to take care of her diet to ensure a sufficient supply of blood and nutrients, to the fetus. There are studies that suggest the role of good nutrition during pregnancy to help in fetal weight.

When you find out you’re pregnant, it’s critical to pay attention to your nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle to ensure your unborn child’s best growth and development. Every mother wants a healthy baby, and one of the indicators that may help you figure out how healthy your kid is is the fetal weight.

What is the procedure for calculating the weight of a fetus?

In the first trimester, the majority of pregnant women will receive their first ultrasound scan. To understand the fetal growth and development, your radiologist will take a variety of measures. Your radiologist will do the following measurements:

  • FL or Femur length
  • HC or Head circumference
  • AC or Abdominal circumference
  • OFD or Occipitofrontal diameter
  • BPD or Biparietal diameter
  • HL or Humerus length

Your radiologist will determine the fetal weight and gestational age using the above-mentioned factors. You will also be informed of your EDD, or expected delivery date. The doctor’s measures may not be accurate, but they will aid your doctor in determining the fetus’ general health.

During pregnancy, there are a few things you may do to help your fetus gain weight

You may be wondering how to make your unborn baby gain weight as a mommy-to-be. Try some of these suggestions to raise fetal weight during pregnancy:

A Diet That Is Both Healthy and Balanced

In pregnancy, the most crucial factor is your diet. If you want to raise fetal weight, add fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, meat, and poultry in your diet.

Nuts and dry fruits should be a part of your daily diet.

Nuts and dry fruits are also part of a well-balanced diet. Almonds, apricots, figs, walnuts, and other nuts and dry fruits are acceptable. However, it is not advised to use them excessively.

Vitamins for Pregnancy

Prenatal vitamins will be provided to you for your baby’s appropriate growth and development. These vitamins also aid in the weight increase of your kid. For maximum fetal weight increase throughout pregnancy, you should take these vitamins on a daily basis.

Stay Hydrated

Drink adequate amounts of fluids to avoid any kind of dehydration in pregnancy. Dehydration in pregnancy may lead to some serious medical complications. You may take fruit juices, vegetable juices, milk, buttermilk or water to keep your body well-hydrated.

Take Adequate Rest

It is very important for a pregnant woman to have plenty of rest. Over-exertion or unnecessary pressure may affect fetal development and growth. Try and get a minimum eight hours of uninterrupted sleep to keep your energy levels intact.

Keep Calm And Carry On

It is critical to look after not only your bodily but also your mental health. Any type of stress or worry can have an impact on both you and your unborn child’s health. The subsequent emotional outbursts may result in overeating, undereating, or poor dietary choices, all of which can negatively impact fetal health.

Medical Advice

In the event that your kid is not gaining enough weight, your doctor will advise you. To raise fetal weight, you may be advised to take extra vitamins or make dietary adjustments.

The aforementioned suggestions may aid in your baby’s weight increase throughout pregnancy. However, you should follow your doctor’s advise in this case.

What Can You Eat to Gain Weight for Your Baby While Pregnant?

To assist the fetus in gaining weight throughout pregnancy, you might include the following foods:

Sweet potatoes are a kind of potato.

Fiber, potassium, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, iron, copper, and beta-carotene are all abundant in sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes contain beta-carotene, an antioxidant that your body converts into Vitamin A. Vitamin A is necessary for fetal skin, bones, and eyes, as we all know. Iron levels in the body are raised by eating sweet potatoes. You may consume them as mashed potatoes, roasted potatoes, stewed potatoes, or shallow-fried potatoes.

Beans And Lentils

Iron and protein are abundant in lentils and beans. Including beans and lentils in your diet will also provide you with enough fiber, folate, and calcium. Beans would offer you with minerals that you would not obtain from a non-vegetarian diet if you are a vegetarian (meat and poultry). Beans are high in zinc, which helps to reduce the risk of protracted labors, low birth weight infants, and preterm births.

Orange Juice

Start your day off right with a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice to boost your Vitamin C, potassium, and folate levels. Folate and folic acid are critical during pregnancy. You can minimize your baby’s risks of contracting some birth abnormalities by fulfilling your body’s daily requirements for certain nutrients. Orange juice helps in keeping your overall health, metabolism, and muscle functions in place.

Yoghurt

Yogurt is high in calcium, protein, Vitamin B, zinc, and other bone-building elements. Your daily calcium need as a pregnant woman is 1000 mg, which you may get from yoghurt. Aside from maintaining bone and tooth health, proper calcium levels in the body lower the risk of preterm labor and low birth weight kids.
Another form in which milk can be taken is curd or yoghurt. Adding a bowl of curd to your meals not only ensures a milk product, which is rich in protein but also helps keep your gut healthy as it is a source of lactic acid bacteria with probiotic properties. It can be taken in plain or raita form or even as lassi (buttermilk). 

Leafy Green Vegetables

Green vegetables including spinach, kale, broccoli, and asparagus are high in antioxidants and important minerals. Green leafy vegetables are beneficial to both the mother and the growing fetus during pregnancy. Leafy veggies can help you receive your daily dose of calcium, potassium, Vitamin A, folate, and fiber. To get the most out of them, eat them raw, cooked, roasted, or stir-fried.

Salmon

Salmon is a great source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are extremely useful to a developing fetus since they aid in brain and eye development as well as providing moms with the necessary protein. Salmon is generally safe for pregnant women since it contains very little mercury.

Eggs

Eggs are high in protein, Vitamin A, and Vitamin D, all of which are beneficial to the fetus’s growth and development. In fact, eggs have the highest protein profile of any meal, making them ideal for consumption during pregnancy. Eggs are also high in folic acids and iron, which help to thicken amniotic membranes and protect the embryo from birth abnormalities and low birth weight.

Milk

Pregnant women might enhance fetal weight by drinking 200-500 mL of milk every day. Milk is abundant in protein and calcium, both of which are necessary for the fetus’s growth and development. You may drink milk straight or make creative porridge and smoothie dishes with it.

The study suggests, a minimum intake of 200-500 ml per day, may have a positive effect on fetal weight. Milk not only provides good quality protein but is a good source of calcium; a nutrient equally important for your baby. Milk can be taken in plain form. If you are not too keen to take plain milk, you may take it as milkshakes or add it to any porridge-like oats/broken wheat /breakfast cereal, etc.

Chicken

Chicken is an excellent diet for increasing fetal weight. This lean meat is abundant in proteins, which help the body’s cells and muscles develop. Aside from proteins, chicken is abundant in iron, which helps to prevent anemia in both the mother and the fetus.

If you have non-vegetarian food habits then you may include lean meats like chicken/low-fat fish. Proteins found in these foods are of superior quality. Lean meat/chicken/fish provide proteins that help in cell and muscle development in the baby. Besides protein, these foods also provide hemoglobin iron. Our body much easily absorbs iron in haem form which in turn helps in pregnancy-induced anemia.

Soybean

Soybeans are a good source of protein for vegetarians and come in a variety of forms. Because of its high iron content, soybean helps to avoid anemia. Soy milk, soy nuggets, tofu, and other soy products are available.
Soybean is another significant item in this category. Soybeans can be consumed in a variety of ways, including soy nuggets, tofu, soymilk, and soybean flour. Soybean is one of the most protein-dense foods available to vegetarians. Soybeans are high in iron, 

And when ingested as tofu or bean curd, they also provide a significant supply of calcium. Because soymilk is coagulated with calcium salts, this is the case. In majority of its recipes, tofu may simply be substituted for paneer. Tofu tikka or stir-fried tofu are both options.

Precautions to Take When Trying to Increase the Weight of Your Baby in the Womb

Some food choices may assist you in gaining weight for your kid while still in the womb. It is critical, however, that you do it in a healthier manner. Anything that is overdone might lead to difficulties. You should take the following precautions:

A Guide to Increasing Baby Weight During Pregnancy
A Guide to Increasing Baby Weight During Pregnancy
  • Avoid Alcohol and Smoking: You should strictly avoid alcohol consumption and smoking in pregnancy. Both these habits can prove to be fatal for your developing baby and may also lead to serious medical complications.
  • Reduce Caffeine Intake: Consuming high amounts of coffee, tea or aerated beverages can have a negative impact on fetal health.
  • Avoid Fried, Sugary or Fatty Foods: Regular intake of such food items may make you prone to obesity, which in turn increase the chances of cholesterol and hypertension. It is recommended to go easy on oily, fatty, and sugary food items. Staying away from certain food categories will help you have a healthy pregnancy and also be beneficial for your unborn child.

Making appropriate eating choices throughout pregnancy is critical to your baby’s healthy growth and development. We’ve provided some recommendations in terms of nutritional modifications you may make throughout pregnancy to help your baby gain weight. However, before making any dietary adjustments or modifications, ask your doctor. You will not only have a healthy pregnancy, but also a healthy baby, if you follow expert advice and assistance.

One of the studies in this area suggests that the most promising results come from the consumption of whole foods including fruit, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and lean meats. These might be beneficial toward producing an infant of appropriate birth weight.

Similarly, another study points to the fact that the contribution of common nutrients or other nutritional factors present in milk and protein promotes fetal growth. Therefore, it emphasizes the importance of maternal nutritional intake and the availability of nutrients contributing to adequate fetal growth.

You don’t have to eat for two people but eat sensibly and healthy to ensure that your unborn baby is growing and developing in a healthy manner. As an expecting mom, you need to have certain foods more to ensure that both your baby’s and your nutritional needs are met. 

Is it Important to Know Fetal Weight?

Fetal weight is the primary deciding factor for the obstetrician. It helps in deciding the time and mode of delivery for the baby as well as avoiding any complications like premature delivery.

Thus, regularly checking the fetal growth would be a good way to keep a check on the nutritional needs of both mom and the baby. A healthy mom on a nutritious diet can ensure a healthy birth without complications towards happy motherhood.

Disclaimer: The above list of foods is only suggestive and may not always lead to fetal weight gain, though these foods might help in weight gain. In case the fetal weight gain is going slow, please take the advice of your gynecologist.

How much weight should I gain?

Gaining the right amount of weight during pregnancy by eating a balanced diet is a good sign that your baby is getting all of the nutrients he or she needs and is growing at a healthy rate.

Weight gain should be slow and gradual. In general, you should gain about 2 to 4 pounds during your first 3 months of pregnancy and 1 pound a week for the remainder of the pregnancy. A woman of average weight before pregnancy can expect to gain 15 to 35 pounds during the pregnancy. You may need to gain more or less depending on whether you are underweight or overweight when you get pregnant. Recommendations also differ if you are carrying more than 1 baby.

Is it natural to have cravings?

Many women will experience food cravings while pregnant, while some will not. It’s fine to indulge in food cravings as long as they fit within a balanced diet and aren’t too frequent.

Pica is a condition in which you crave non-food objects such as ice, laundry detergent, dirt, clay, ashes, or paint chips. This is something you should talk to your doctor about right now. Eating non-food items can be dangerous to you and your baby, and it could indicate a nutritional shortage like iron deficiency.

Tags: Pregnancy, stages of pregnancy, symptoms of pregnancy

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