Health and Wellness Pregnancy

How to increase baby weight during pregnancy?

Dr Pooja AttreyPT
Pregnancy

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How to increase baby weight during pregnancy

From the moment you conceive to the moment you deliver it is a miracle in itself. A woman is a true nurturer as she nurtures that tiny seed with her blood, flesh and most importantly her love. She lives for the baby as she makes choices like choosing her food to choosing her thoughts and every aspect of her health impacts the baby. A key parameter to assess a healthy pregnancy is measuring the fetal weight. After every ultrasound scan that you have, fetal weight is measured and recorded for references. And if you have been told that the fetal weight is less than what is ideal for your stage of pregnancy, here is what you should know.

What Is Foetal Weight?

In order to assess a pregnancy, highly complex formulas have been used to devise mere averages of ideal baby weights at different stages of pregnancy. Because all pregnancies are unique and all babies develop at different rates, do not worry if a number shows that your baby is big or small. The right person to help you in this regard is your gynaecologist, and unless he or she does not seem concerned, there should be no need to worry.

How Is Baby Weight Measured In A Pregnancy Ultrasound?

Foetal weight- up to first 8 weeks, foetus is not weighable because of its small size. After that it can be ideated from an ultrasound. Till about 20 weeks, babies are measured from head to the bottom as their legs are still curled. After that, babies are measured from head to toe. During the scan, radiologist will make few measurements of the foetus across the below parameters:

  • Biparietal diameter (BPD)- measurement if baby's head side to side
  • Femur length (FL)-measuring the thigh bone length
  • Head circumference(HC)
  • Occipitofrontal diameter(OFD)- the length from the root of the nose to frontal bone's most prominent point
  • Abdominal circumference(AC)- critical to spot any intrauterine growth retardation
  • Humerus length(HL)- measuring the arm bone length, the forelimb from the shoulder to the elbow

Using a formula, the foetal weight and gestational age is calculated. It's important to understand that the formula is quite complex and accurate numbers cannot be arrived at. Hence, a margin of +/-10% of the calculated figure is always taken into consideration.

increase fetal weight

Baby Weight Chart During Pregnancy

The below estimations can be referred to when we speak of ideal baby weight gain chart  in grams during pregnancy.

Pregnancy Week Average Fetal Weight (gm)
Pregnancy Week Weight In Gms
8 Weeks 1 gm
9 Weeks 2 gms
10 Weeks 4 gms
11 Weeks 7 gms
12 Weeks 14 gms
13 Weeks 23 gms
14 Weeks 43 gms
15 Weeks 70 gms
16 Weeks 100 gms
17 Weeks 140 gms
18 Weeks 190 gms
19 Weeks 240 gms
20 Weeks 300 gms
21 Weeks 360 gms
22 Weeks 430 gms
23 Weeks 501 gms
24 Weeks 600 gms
25 Weeks 660 gms
26 Weeks 760 gms
27 Weeks 875 gms
28 Weeks 1005 gms
29 Weeks 1153 gms
30 Weeks 1319 gms
31 Weeks 1502 gms
32 Weeks 1702 gms
33 Weeks 1918 gms
34 Weeks 2146 gms
35 Weeks 2383 gms
36 Weeks 2622 gms
37 Weeks 2859 gms
38 Weeks 3083 gms
39 Weeks 3288 gms
40 Weeks 3462 gms
41 Weeks 3597 gms
42 Weeks 3685 gms

How Can I Assure Ideal Foetal Weight Gain During Pregnancy?

Studies show that over-weight gain may result into birthing complications and less weight gain can result in infants with low birth weights. Like I said, earlier, the mother's weight determines foetal weight. So gaining the right amount of weight is important. Too little weight gain or too much weight gain can harm both you and the baby.

Pregnancy weight gain should be in accordance with the BMI of the mother at the time of conception. If mother gains weight proportionally it is taken as a sign of normal foetal growth as well. But some women face the issue of less than expected foetal weight despite normal increase in their weight. So let's see what they should do or not do to ensure there is no confusion.

So how to increase the baby weight through natural remedies? Can a healthy diet impact baby weight gain during the gestation period? Let's find out.

unborn-baby-gain-weight

Foods To Help Baby Gain Weight During Pregnancy

It is in the womb that the foundation of health starts for a baby. You have to start taking care of the baby while she is in the womb, and to have a healthy birth weight is one of the most important parameters of baby health. A mother's health, lifestyle choices, stress levels, habits etc. reflect on the baby whilst in the womb. If your doctor has indicated that your baby weighs less than normal for a particular week in pregnancy, it is time to adopt some lifestyle and healthy eating habits. Take ample rest, stay away from stress and anxiety and have a healthy, naturally balanced diet. Since it is a period of building – your baby is developing inside you – it is but only ideal that nutrition be given prime importance during the gestation period. So it is critical to take more calories, more macro nutrition (protein, carbohydrates, fats), and more micro nutrition (vitamins and minerals) than normal during pregnancy.

  • Proteins: Being the main component of growth, 90 to 100 grams of lean protein is recommended every day during pregnancy. Protein is important to a baby's overall development, especially her brain. The choices are vast when selecting healthy proteins, including almonds, lean poultry, lean beef, low-mercury fish and dairy foods, including cheese, milk and yogurt. Include at least one protein source, such as low-fat cheese or peanut butter, in each meal and snack to promote foetal growth. Flax, walnuts, chia seeds, fish oil supplements, seaweed for omega 3 can also be added
  • Carbohydrates: The carbohydrates from empty calorie foods like wafers etc. should be minimized as they can cause a pregnant woman to gain unnecessary weight and provide little to no nutrition to the mother or baby. Instead caloric-dense foods like legumes, hearty cereals or dried apricots can be used along normal balanced diet. Some vegetables, such as white potatoes, corn and peas, are fine in moderation but are part of the starch food group. Five to six servings of vegetables and six to eight servings of healthy grains are recommended. These servings vary for each woman depending on her individual calories requirements
  • Calcium: Doctors around the world recomment a daily intake of 1000 mg of calcium per day for pregnant and lactating women. Make sure your your pregnancy diet consists of good sources of calcium like dairy products, dark green leafy vegetables, fortified juices and cereals almonds and sesame seeds are included in your diet
  • Folic acid: The first prenatal vitamin that your doctor will suggest will be folic acid Folic acid helps reduce the risk for babies born with open neural tube defect. Infact, it has been found that 70 percent of all neural tube defects can be avoided with appropriate folic acid intake. Foods rich in folic acid include kidney beans, lentils, green leafy vegetables, nuts and citrus fruits
  • Fats: Foods high in saturated fat should be eliminated during pregnancy. Healthy fats like avocado, olive oil and nut butters are beneficial to the mother and the baby to increase foetal weight. Two to three servings of healthy fats per day is usually recommended. Adding one or two extra servings of healthy fats per day might help add weight to a baby during pregnancy. The cow ghee is an excellent option which increases healthy fat content without increasing blood pressure n cholesterol levels. Full cream milk will serve fats and calcium requirements well
  • Sugars: The natural sugar in fruit makes a great snack during pregnancy and provides the mother and baby with healthy sugar option. Desserts are high in sugar and don't provide the mother or baby with essential nutrients. Sugar-free foods like gelatines are safe in moderation, but it is best to calm a sweet tooth with fresh fruits or even dark chocolate. Two to three servings of healthy sugars is adequate. Limit sweets to one small serving of about 100 calories per day. These type of calories will do very little to improve the weight of the baby but can add unnecessary weight to the mother
  • Vitamins and Minerals: Two servings of milk, one serving of curd would be sufficient for daily calcium and vitamin D requirement. 20-30 minutes sun exposure early morning may also help sustain vitamin D levels. One to two servings of green leafy vegetables like spinach would so great to nourish additional iron, B12 and vitamin E requirements. At least one serving seasonal fruits would provide for trace minerals well
  • Prenatal health supplements A daily multi-vitamin/multi-mineral for pregnant women is advised so that they can get required micronutrients like vitamins, Minerals etc. Apart from reducing nausea and morning sickness multi-vitamin supplement are foetal growth enhancer. Mostly available pregnancy supplements in market have these micronutrients like vitamin B12, folic acid, magnesium, potassium etc in required amounts

How To Increase Baby Weight During 7th Month Of Pregnancy?

The beginning of the 7th month of pregnancy marks the start of the third and final trimester of pregnancy. The closer you get to the time when your baby will be in your arms, the better health care you deserve. When you are in the 7th month of pregnancy, your diet should be focused on the baby who is to arrive soon. For proper and healthy development of the fetus, you need atleast 450 extra calories everyday. The key here is to eat in moderation, as the uterus keeps on taking the space in the abdomen. Your 7th month pregnancy diet should be full of iron and protein, with loads of foods that have calcium, magnesium, fibre, folic acid and DHA. Avoid foods high in salt, fats, sugar and those that will just give you empty calories but no nutritional benefits.

How To Increase Baby Weight During 8th Month Of Pregnancy?

Your baby will pack on most of the pounds as flesh and skin during the 8th and the 9th month of pregnancy. At this stage, the uterus is even bigger and the stomach has, but a very small space. Eating in small portions spread across a gap every few hours is the way to go. To combat any blood loss during delivery, eat foods that have high vitamin and mineral content, high iron levels and calcium. Get a good amount of proteins, carbohydrates, fats and fiber. Make sure you have small portions of foods to avoid heartburn and indigestion. Avoid fatty foods, caffeine and soft cheeses, raw or undercooked eggs and other foods that are considered harmful during pregnancy. 8th month is a very, very delicate time for you and it is important to eat foods with high nutritive value to provide maximum nourishment to the baby. As you too begin to put on weight week on week, make sure you do some gentle exercising like walking, pregnancy yoga etc. and keep active.

How To Increase Foetal Weight In Last Month?

As you can see from the chart above, an unborn baby gains weight rapidly from the third trimester onwards. During the last month of pregnancy, focus your attention to eating a balanced and nutritional diet as the baby's weight gain can also affect your digestive system. However, your servings will increase. Pack on fiber rich foods, loads of calcium and iron rich foods and fruits that are rich in vitamin C and A. The last month of pregnancy can be quite troublesome, when you would barely want to move, but a walk twice a day would actually help ease out labor. Prevent constipation and heartburn by eating healthy, in smaller portions. Avoid caffeine, colas, alcoholic beverages soft cheeses, unpasteurized poultry and dairy and sweet and fried foods.

Simple Tips To Increase Weight Of Baby During Pregnancy

  • Eat a balanced and nutrition rich healthy diet to gain optimum weight for your pregnancy stage
  • Take your prenatal vitamins regularly. They compensate for any gaps in your nutrition intake
  • Include dry fruits and nuts in your diet considering which trimester you are in. A handful of them should be enough for a day
  • Ensure you get enough rest and get good sleep. If you have trouble sleeping, consider having chamomile tea or read your favourite book
  • Stay relaxed and positive at all times. Keep your anxieties to the minimum
  • Keep yourself well hydrated with water and fresh juices. Caffeinated drinks do not count

What Precautions Should Be Taken When Increasing Baby Weight During Pregnancy?

  1. Fried and oily foods should be atleast limited to a minimum if cannot be totally avoided, not just during pregnancy but all through. Otherwise, you will be putting yourself and the pregnancy at risk as they can lead to cholesterol and hypertension
  2. Avoid smoking, drugs, alcohol and caffeine and drinks and juices containing artificial sugars. All of them have a negative impact on foetal health
  3. Last but not the least, stay alert

**Please note that the given foetal weights are just estimated averages and should not be used to infer any clinical decisions. Speak to your doctor if you have any doubts.**

Did you like the blog? Please do share your views and feedback in the comments section below.

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Sonam Anurag Srivastava

| Sep 16, 2017

Thanks for information

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Pallawi Motghare

| Jul 09, 2017

I m 34 weeks pregnant ,but my baby weight is less,which diet plan I prefer

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