During pregnancy, you will be going through many changes. One of these is your pelvis relaxing and expanding in preparation for birth. While this is guaranteed to happen, you may still worry about when you have to bring your baby into the world.
You may also worry during the first few months of your baby’s life. His growth rate may seem faster than average if he is growing at a high rate. It is most likely normal, but there is a particular time to start being worried.
Making sure you are getting enough to eat when you are pregnant is equally as important as feeding enough when your baby is born. The amount of nutrition your baby is getting is directly correlated to how much he will grow and how fast.
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During your many scans and appointments, you will get an update on your fetus’ growth. You may be told that your baby is too large to be born vaginally. Being that your body is so flexible, and hormones are at work, this is probably not true. Any pelvis should be able to deliver naturally. It is one of the amazing things about the female body.
There is no reason to have a Cesarean if you are having a large baby. If everything else is okay, you will be able to deliver vaginally.
When your baby is finally brought into the world, he will be growing nonstop. How will you be able to tell if he is growing enough? Or too much? Is it even possible to grow too much?
The answer to that is ‘not particularly’. You should by no means limit your baby’s growth by denying him breast milk. This is an important factor for your infant’s brain development. It can also cause painful breast infections if you do not breastfeed on cue.
2 Sufficient Growth
1. During Pregnancy
- You have probably heard that you are ‘eating for two’ when you are pregnant. That is not necessarily the case. You should technically be eating for 1.1.
- 10% more calories are all you need during pregnancy. Make sure these calories are healthy.
- Some environmental factors that can affect your baby’s growth are:
- Your weight: Heavier moms make heavier babies.
- Pregnancy weight gain: How much you gain during pregnancy can be all for the baby, causing him to be larger.
- Smoking: This can cause birth defects and stunted growth.
- Caffeine: Even in older children, caffeine can stunt the growth. It does not change if he is getting it from you or a can of soda.
- Chronic illness: If you have any chronic diseases, they may affect your baby’s development as well.
2. While Breastfeeding and After Breastfeeding
- Breastfeeding gives your baby nutrients and immunities to things in his environment.
- The following is how much weight your child should be gaining and how fast. Keep an eye on your child’s growth to ensure he is growing at a healthy rate. (These rates are not exact, however, and you should give a few numbers some leeway. Not everyone is the same, after all. Averages are just that – average. There’s nothing wrong with being out of the norm as long as everything else is well.)
- Birth to 12 months: 10 inches in length, Triple birth weight.
- 12 to 24 months: 5 inches, Six pounds.
- 2 to 10 years: Growth patterns have settled, 2 ½ inches, Six pounds.
- Puberty: Girls grow 9 inches; Boys grow 11 inches; Girls gain 15 to 55 pounds; Boys gain up to 65 pounds.
When to Worry
There are some signs that will show if your child is not growing at the proper rate. Keep an eye out for any of the following to ensure he is doing well with growing.
1. Height Seems off
- If he is taller or shorter than he should be, compared to parents and siblings, something may be going on.
2. Late or Early Puberty
- This can signal hormonal imbalances or other, more serious conditions.
3. Nowhere Near Averages
4. Drops 20 More Percentile Points From One Year to the Next
- This indicates a decrease in growth and can be problematic.
5. Rapid Weight Gain and No Rapid Height Gain
- Sometimes things do not exactly go according to plan. There can be other problems that cause your baby to be unable to pass through the birth canal. This usually results in an assisted birth. Often, this has nothing to do with the baby’s size and everything to do with how the birth process is going.
Your baby can also breach, causing the need for a Cesarean section. Your cervix can stop dilating, your contractions can be weak, your baby’s head will not descend, and labor ceasing to progress for more than a couple of hours are all scenarios that are likely to end with a Cesarean section.
Moreover, you are most likely able to deliver a larger baby. Only when other factors affect your delivery should you consider a Cesarean section. It cannot be avoided sometimes.
After your baby is born, it is important to keep breastfeeding him for as long as possible. To avoid obesity, avoid solid foods for six months and do not force your child to eat. He will grow at a normal rate as long as nothing else is going on.
Your baby may seem like he is growing at a ridiculous rate. This is usually normal, so do not worry too much. Kids do grow up fast, after all. Sooner than you expect, he will be off to college or getting married.
The normal rates are mentioned above, and should be taken somewhat lightly. Obviously, there is going to be some difference between every baby. The ability to tell if something is going wrong is easy to develop, and as long as you keep an eye on the possible problematic factors and address them quickly, your baby will have a healthy life.