According to a study published in 2020, 30-35% of babies are born with a low birth weight in India. Such babies weigh less than 2,500 grams. But luckily, they can be treated in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit). If they develop any health conditions afterwards, the best paediatrician in Hyderabad can treat them.
Nevertheless, prevention is better than cure. So here are 5 tips to ward off any risks of low birth weight.
5 Ways to Prevent the Risk of Low Birth Weight
- Attain a healthy weight for pregnancy
Ensure to gain a healthy weight during your pregnancy according to the recommendations in the table below.
|Category of pre-pregnancy weight||Body Mass Index||Recommended range of weight gain (in pounds)|
|Obese||30.0 or more||11-20|
Obesity is a risk factor for birth defects like low birth weight and other pregnancy concerns. If you’re obese, overweight, or underweight, let your gynaecologist guide you on how to attain and maintain a healthy weight before getting pregnant. You may be recommended to exercise regularly and follow a healthy diet.
- Make the necessary lifestyle changes
You must make the following lifestyle changes to prepare for a healthy pregnancy:
- Alcoholic and tobacco smoke can make your infant more prone to low birth weight. So, avoid smoking, drinking alcohol, or using other drugs before and after getting pregnant. Also, stay away from second-hand smoke before and during pregnancy.
- Ensure to have sufficient sleep and minimise your stress to help the developing foetus be healthy.
- Take folic acid
Folic acid deficiency can lead to low birth weight, premature births, and defects in the baby’s spine and brain. So, eat more veggies, fruits and whole grains rich in folic acid to increase the chances of a healthy pregnancy.
It’s also good to start taking vitamin supplements containing folic acid a month before getting pregnant and continue during your pregnancy. You must take 400 micrograms of it daily. Also, eat fortified foods.
- Consult the doctor before starting or stopping any medications
You may have to take certain medicines to remain healthy during pregnancy. If you plan to get pregnant, discuss the medicines that you’re taking currently with your healthcare provider.
Before you’re pregnant, the doctor can create a treatment plan for your specific health condition. This can help keep you and your future baby healthy.
- Begin prenatal care early
If you’re expecting, you must start receiving regular prenatal care early. It can help in the early detection of any medical conditions. These include preeclampsia (that lowers the blood flow to your placenta and blocks nutritional supply to the foetus), gestational diabetes, etc.
During a prenatal visit, the gynaecologist will carefully monitor your weight gain, blood pressure and foetal heart rate and growth. This can also detect any possibilities of the low birth weight of your baby.
If your baby is born healthy but develops any health concerns later, visit the best paediatrician in Hyderabad for effective treatment.