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Once you find out that you are pregnant, it is important to pay heed to your diet, exercise, and lifestyle for the optimal growth and development of your unborn baby. Every mother wishes to have a healthy baby, and one of the parameters that help you know about your baby’s well-being is the foetal weight.
Most pregnant women will have their first ultrasound scan in the first trimester. Your radiologist will take various measurements to understand the foetal growth and development. Following are some measurements that your radiologist will make:
- FL or Femur length
- HC or Head circumference
- AC or Abdominal circumference
- OFD or Occipitofrontal diameter
- BPD or Biparietal diameter
- HL or Humerus length
With the above-mentioned parameters, your radiologist will establish the foetal weight and gestational age. You will also be told about your EDD or estimated date of delivery. The measurements made by the doctor may not be exact, but it will help your doctor establish the overall well-being of the foetus.
Every baby grows differently; therefore, the table below is only to give you an idea, and not the ideal baby weight gain, week by week during pregnancy.
|Pregnancy in Weeks||Foetal weight in Grams|
Effective Tips to Increase Foetal Weight During Pregnancy
As a mommy-to-be you may wonder how to make your unborn baby gain weight, Follow some of these tips to increase foetal weight during pregnancy:
1. A Healthy and Balanced Diet
Diet plays the most important role in pregnancy. You should include fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, meat, and poultry in your diet, if you wish to increase foetal weight.
2. Include Nuts and Dry Fruits in Your Diet
A well-balanced diet also constitutes nuts and dry fruits. You may eat almonds, apricots, figs, walnuts, and other nuts and dry fruits. However, it is recommended not to go overboard with them.
3. Prenatal Vitamins
You will be given prenatal vitamins for your baby’s proper growth and development. These vitamins also help your baby gain weight. You should take these vitamins regularly for optimal foetal weight gain during pregnancy.
4. 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.
5. Take Adequate Rest
It is very important for a pregnant woman to have plenty of rest. Over-exertion or unnecessary pressure may affect foetal development and growth. Try and get minimum eight hours of uninterrupted sleep to keep your energy levels intact.
6. Stay Calm And Positive
It is not only important to take care of your physical health, but also mental wellbeing. Any kind of stress and anxiety can affect you as well as your unborn baby’s health. The resulting emotional outbursts may lead to over-eating, under-eating, or making wrong food choices, and all these may affect foetal health.
7. Medical Guidance
Your doctor will guide you in case your baby is not gaining sufficient amount of weight. You may be told to take additional supplements or make dietary changes to increase foetal weight.
The above-mentioned tips may help your baby gain weight during pregnancy. However, it is recommended to take your doctor’s advice in this matter.
You may include following foods to help baby gain weight during pregnancy:
1. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are loaded with fibre, potassium, vitamin c , Vitamin B6, iron, copper, and beta-carotene. The presence of beta-carotene (an antioxidant) in sweet potatoes gets converted into Vitamin A by your body. Vitamin A, as we know, is essential for foetal skin, bones, and eyes. Sweet potatoes increase the iron levels in the body. You may eat them in mashed, baked, stewed, or shallow-fried form.
2. Lentils And Beans
Lentils and beans are jam-packed with iron and protein. You will also get enough fibre, folate and calcium by including beans and lentils in your diet. If you are a vegetarian, beans will provide you with minerals that you may otherwise get from a non-vegetarian diet (meat and poultry). Being rich in zinc, beans are great for reducing the risk of prolonged labour, low birth weight babies, or premature deliveries.
3. Orange Juice
Start your day with a glass of fresh orange juice and spike up your Vitamin C, potassium and folate levels. Folate and folic acid are extremely important in pregnancy. By meeting your body’s daily requirements of these nutrients, you can reduce the baby’s chances of catching certain birth defects. Orange juice helps in keeping your overall health, metabolism, and muscle functions in place.
Calcium, protein, Vitamin B, zinc and other bone-building nutrients are power packed in yoghurt. As a mommy-to-be, your daily calcium requirement is 1000 mg, and you can meet this requirement with yoghurt. Apart from keeping your bone and teeth health in place, adequate amounts of calcium in the body reduce the chances of preterm labour or low birth weight babies.
5. Green Leafy Vegetables
Green vegetables such as spinach, kale, broccoli, and asparagus are loaded with essential nutrients and anti-oxidants. Green leafy vegetables work wonders for a pregnant woman and her developing foetus. You may get your daily dosage of calcium, potassium, Vitamin A, folate, and fibre by eating leafy vegetables. You may eat them in raw, cooked, baked, or stir-fried form for maximum benefits.
Salmon is one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids and protein. Omega-3 fatty acids are very beneficial for a growing foetus as they help in brain and eye development, as well as supplying the required amount of protein to mothers. Salmon is considered safe for pregnant women, as it has very low levels of mercury in it.
Egg are a powerhouse of protein, Vitamin A, and Vitamin D, all of which are incredible for the growth and development on the foetus. In fact, the protein profile of eggs is unmatched by any other food, making it beneficial to eat during pregnancy. Eggs are also rich in folic acids and iron, which work towards strengthening amniotic membranes and preventing birth defects and low birth weight in the foetus.
A daily intake of 200-500 ml of milk per day can help pregnant women increase foetal weight. Milk contains a high amount of protein and calcium, which are essential for growth and development of the foetus. You can drink milk in plain form or come up with interesting porridge and smoothie recipes.
Chicken is a great food that helps increase foetal weight. This lean meat is high in proteins that promote cell and muscle development in the body. Besides proteins, chicken also has a high amount of iron that reduces anaemia in the mother and fetus.
Soybean is a rich source of protein for vegetarians, and can be consumed in various forms. High in iron, as well, soybean prevents anaemia due to its high iron content. You can consume soya in the form of soy milk, soya nuggets, tofu, etc.
Some dietary choices may help you increase your baby’s weight in the womb. However, it is very important that you do so in a healthier manner. Overdoing anything may lead to complications. These are some precautions that you should take:
- 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 foetal 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 healthy food choices during pregnancy is key to ensuring your baby’s growth and development is on track. We have made some suggestions in context to dietary changes that you can make during pregnancy to increase foetal weight. However, consult your doctor before making any changes or amends to your diet. With expert guidance and support, you will not only have a healthy pregnancy, but also a healthy baby.
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