Pregnancy is like a rollercoaster ride and can even be scary for the expecting mother sometimes. Scary in the sense that the mother often may fear that her baby will be born with some complications. Other than this, pregnancy is a journey full of happiness and hope. One concern that some mothers may have or already have gone through is having a baby of a small size.
A new born baby of a small size will naturally weigh less than the average newborn baby. The average weight of a new born baby is 3 kg to 3.5 kg and the length should be 50 cm on average. Having a new born baby smaller than the average specifications is not uncommon. Several factors lead to the birth of a smaller newborn. Pregnancy is a very crucial stage, it is not a new fact, and the growth and health of a new born baby depend a lot on the mother’s health condition, diet, environmental factors, and genetic influence.
The possible reasons why your baby could be small are as follows:
Premature delivery and a small size baby
One of the most common reasons for giving birth to a small size baby is premature delivery. The baby could not get sufficient nutrition from the mother due to early delivery.
The physical build of the parents and the birth of a smaller baby
A baby inherits 50 percent genetic material from the mother and the other 50 percent genetic material from the father.
If both the parents or either of the parents has a small stature, it is most likely the cause behind the small size of the new born baby. If your baby is not born prematurely but smaller in size, then this may be a possible cause.
The influence of ethnicity
Studies have shown that the size of the baby is related to the ethnicity of either of the parents. The size of the baby born to a mother from a minority community is most likely to be smaller than the average size.
A poor diet of the mother during pregnancy
To go through pregnancy smoothly, a proper diet full of nourishment is very necessary. Poor diet during pregnancy affects the mother and the baby negatively and one of the possible reasons behind the small size of the baby.
Risks factors leading to the birth of a small size baby.
Smoking during pregnancy hampers the growth of the baby. Doctors strictly advise mothers against smoking during pregnancy. Most importantly, even passive smoking also affects the fetus negatively.
Smoking can induce premature delivery, as well.
Drinking during pregnancy and the birth of small size baby
It is seen that pregnant women who drink alcohol regularly mostly deliver babies smaller in size.
Effect of medication during pregnancy on the size of the new born baby
Some medications also have negative impacts on the development of the fetus during pregnancy. Women who take medications for high blood pressure, high doses of vitamin A, hormonal meds, etc are prone to give birth to babies small in size.
If you are having multiple births, then due to lack of placental space, one of the babies may be born small in size. Lack of placental space deprives one of the fetuses of proper nutrients required to grow properly leading to the birth of a small sized baby.
Complications due to the birth of small size baby
Under normal circumstances, a small size new born baby doesn’t face many complications. However, in most cases, babies born prematurely have difficulty with breathing, have a weak heart, not able to maintain proper body temperature, intestinal issues, etc. In such cases, the baby needs to be transferred to the neonatal intensive care unit for monitoring and extra medical care.
Point to be noted that the above-mentioned complications arise mostly in case of the premature birth of the baby. Small-sized babies born after a full-term pregnancy usually grow up to a normal adult but may be prone to health conditions such as diabetes, high BP, weights issues, etc.
The size of the baby can be tracked earlier during the gestational phase. In every doctor’s appointment, the weight of the mother is noted to track the growth of the fetus. The health of the mother during pregnancy is of top priority.
As you can see, the phase of pregnancy is pretty crucial. It is always advisable that a pregnant woman should get proper rest and avoid excessive physical activity straining her body. Apart from this, the expecting mother should get proper sleep, diet and stay stress-free, and avoid anything that may hamper her body or the fetus.
In case you fear that your baby is smaller in size than usual, then my advice is to visit your OB/GYN or pediatric specialist for some guidance.