Here's why putting on weight during your last trimester is good for your baby
A new study has found that weight gain during their pregnancy is beneficial for the unborn child. But there is only one condition.
There is some good news for expecting mums in the country.
A new study has found that a little weight gain during the fag end of a pregnancy can be extremely beneficial for the unborn child. This is especially true for shorter Indian women.
The research that was conducted by St John’s Medical College in Bengaluru, and the Harvard School of Public Health and Boston Children’s Hospital, also says that gaining 490 gms of weight per week reduces the risk of giving birth to low birth weight babies by 63 percent.
Weight gain will benefit the unborn child
The study is based on the findings that short women (with height less than 152 cm) generally have a higher chance of delivering such babies, which is the biggest cause of neonatal illness and even deaths in India.
While citing the report The Hindu reported, “The number of low birth weight deliveries dropped from 22 per cent to 10 per cent in the short statured group as against from 11 per cent to 6 per cent in the non-short group. Short statured women are thought to be more likely to deliver weak babies due to insufficient nutrition reserves that reduce their availability to the growing foetus. Also, they are thought to be prone to deliver small sized babies as they have a short pelvic and uterine volume.”
In addition the study also suggests that low birth weight puts newborns at a higher risk of developing hypertension, diabetes as well as low metabolism. In fact, UNICEF figures reveal that nearly 8 million Indian babies died of low birth weight.
During the course of the study they also found that weight gain during the last trimester was especially beneficial for the unborn child. And in order to do just that, expecting mums must concentrate on their health and nutrition.
As Ramesh Agarwal, Professor in the Department of Pediatrics of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, shared with India Science Wire, “Poor nutrition of the mother is thought to be an important reason for having a low birth weight baby. But, we do not know how effective nutritional supplementation during pregnancy would improve birth weight. In this backdrop, this study is important.”
However, the fact is that even women who are above 152 cm can deliver low birth weight babies. So how can one prevent that? Well, there are a few ways of lowering the risk of having a low birth weight baby.
4 ways to lower the risk of delivering a low birth weight infant
- Start prenatal care: Do visit to gynaecologist to discuss the overall issues and to correct any pre-existing diseases. Seek regular prenatal care. Regular prenatal visits help your health care provider monitor your health and your baby’s health. Mention any signs or symptoms that concern you. Talking to your health care provider is likely to put your mind at ease.
- Get tested: Ask your doctor for five pregnancy scans such as Amniocentesis (test aims to detect risk of Down syndrome, sickle cell disease, cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy, Tay-Sachs, and similar diseases), Nuchal translucency screening, MaterniT-21 Plus test (it can detect Down syndrome and other chromosome abnormalities, including trisomy 18, 13, and sex chromosome abnormalities), and Chorionic Villi Sampling (used to detect birth defects, genetic diseases, and other problems during pregnancy) as well as a regular ultrasound study.
- Change your lifestyle: Start to eat a healthy diet and gain weight wisely. But also remember to engage in regular physical activity to stay fit, healthy, active and energetic. And, most importantly, avoid intake of alcohol, tobacco and illegal drugs are off-limits during pregnancy.
- Include healthy foods in your diet: Consume foods rich in vitamin A such as pumpkins, carrots, sweet potatoes, apricots. Also add vegetables and fruits as well as pulses, dals, nuts, cereals and meat, if you eat can.