Published: Sun, July 02, 2017
World | By Tasha Manning

Growth and the newborn baby

Growth and the newborn baby

What about premature babies?

Premature babies are often smaller in size and lighter than other newborns. The weight of a premature baby is largely determined by how long it was anticipated to be born. The time the baby was lost within the womb was time for growth, so the baby should compensate for that growth in the outside world.

Many premature babies are classified as "low birth weight" or "very low birth weight." In medical terms, "low birth weight" means that the baby weighs less than 5 pounds with 8 ounces (2,500 grams) at birth. This affects approximately 1 in 12 babies in the US, so it is quite common. "Very low birth weight" means that the baby weighs less than 3 pounds with 5 ounces (1,500 grams). Most babies with low or very low birth weight were born prematurely.

Premature babies receive special medical care immediately after birth, and a skilled pediatrician called "neonatologist" can take part in their care. Many premature infants spend time in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) while receiving medical attention, which includes feeding them and watching their growth closely.

Older is better?

In the old days, a plump baby with bulging thighs was the most vivid picture of a healthy baby. But a baby born with more weight on average may have special medical problems that require attention.

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Yes, at the beginning. Babies are born with too much fluid, so it is perfectly normal for a newborn to lose a few ounces when he loses that leftover fluid during the first few days of life. A healthy newborn is expected to lose between 7% and 10% of his birth weight, but should recover approximately during the first 2 weeks after birth.

During the first month of life, most newborns gain weight at a rate of about one ounce (30 grams) a day. They usually grow in length between one inch and an inch and a half (from 2.54 to 3.81 centimeters) during the first month of life. Many newborns go through a period of rapid growth when they have between 7 and 10 days of life and two more when they are 3 and 6 weeks old.

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