Low birthweight | March of Dimes
Low birthweight is when a baby is born weighing less than 5 pounds, 8 ounces.
Some low-birthweight babies are healthy, but others have serious health problems that need treatment.
Premature birth (before 37 weeks of pregnancy) and fetal growth restriction are the most common causes of low birthweight.
Being a person of color is not a cause for having a low birthweight baby. However, communities of color are disproportionately affected by racism. This affects their health and well-being and increases the risk of pregnancy complications.
Go to all your prenatal care checkups during pregnancy. Your health care provider tracks your baby’s growth and development at each visit.
Talk with your provider about what you can do to help reduce your risk for having a baby with low birthweight.
What is low birthweight?
Low birthweight is when a baby is born weighing less than 5 pounds, 8 ounces. Some babies with low birthweight are healthy, even though they’re small. But having a low weight at birth can cause serious health problems for some babies. A baby who is very small at birth may have trouble eating, gaining weight and fighting off infections. Some may have long-term health problems, too. About 1 in 12 babies (about 8 percent) in the United States is born with low birthweight.
What causes a baby to have a low birthweight?
There are two main reasons:
- Preterm birth.
- Fetal growth restriction (also called intrauterine growth restriction or small for gestational age). This means a baby doesn’t gain the weight they should before birth. Some babies may have low birthweight simply because their parents are small. Others may have low birthweight because something slowed or stopped their growth during pregnancy. Your health care provider measures your belly and uses ultrasound to help track your baby’s growth during pregnancy. Ultrasound uses sound waves and a computer screen to show a picture of your baby while you’re pregnant.
If your provider thinks your baby’s growth is being restricted, you may have ultrasounds more often (every 2 to 4 weeks) to track your baby’s growth. Your provider also may do other tests such as heart rate monitoring and tests to check for infections or birth defects. Babies who have birth defects are more likely to be born too early.
Are you at risk of having a low-birthweight baby?
Some things may make you more likely than others to have a low-birthweight baby. These are called risk factors. Having a risk factor doesn’t mean you’ll definitely have a low-birthweight baby, but it may increase your chances. Talk with your health care provider about what you can do to reduce your risk.
Medical risk factors for having a low-birthweight baby
- Preterm labor. This is labor that starts too soon, before 37 weeks of pregnancy.
- Chronic health conditions. These are health conditions that last for a long time or that happen again and again over a long period of time. Chronic health conditions need to be treated by a health care provider. Chronic health conditions that may lead to having a baby with low birthweight include high blood pressure, diabetes and heart, lung and kidney problems.
- Taking certain medicines to treat health conditions, such as high blood pressure, epilepsy and blood clots. Tell your provider about any prescription medicine you take. You may need to stop taking a medicine or switch to one that’s safer during pregnancy.
- Infections. Certain infections, especially infections of the internal reproductive organs during pregnancy, can slow a baby’s growth in the womb. These include cytomegalovirus, rubella, chickenpox, toxoplasmosis and certain sexually transmitted infections.
- Problems with the placenta. The placenta grows in the uterus and supplies the baby with food and oxygen through the umbilical cord. Some problems in the placenta can reduce the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the baby, which can limit the baby’s growth.
- Not gaining enough weight during pregnancy. Pregnant people who don’t gain enough weight during pregnancy are more likely to have a low-birthweight baby than those who gain the right amount of weight. If you have an eating disorder or have been treated for an eating disorder, tell your provider. Your provider can check on you and your baby carefully throughout pregnancy to help prevent complications and make sure you’re both healthy.
- Having a baby who was born too early or who had low birthweight in the past.
- Being pregnant with multiples (twins, triplets or more). More than half of multiple birth babies have low birthweight.
- Smoking, drinking alcohol, using street drugs and abusing prescription drugs. Pregnant people who smoke are more than 3 times as likely to have a baby who weighs too little at birth than people who don’t smoke. Smoking, drinking alcohol, using street drugs, and abusing prescription drugs during pregnancy can slow the baby’s growth in the womb and increase the risk for preterm birth and birth defects.
- Exposure to air pollution or lead
- Being a member of a group that experiences the effects of racism and health disparities.
- Domestic violence. This is when your partner hurts or abuses you. It includes physical, sexual and emotional abuse.
- Age. Being a teen (especially younger than 15) or being older than 35 makes you more likely than other parents to have a low-birthweight baby.
Rates of low birthweight in the United States
Black babies are more likely than others to weigh less than they should at birth. The rates of low birthweight among different ethnic groups are:
- About 1 in 7 Black babies (about 13 percent)
- About 1 in 12 Asian babies (about 8 percent)
- About 1 in 13 Native American or Alaska Native babies (about 8 percent)
- About 1 in 14 Latinx babies (about 7 percent)
- About 1 in 14 White babies (about 7 percent)
March of Dimes recognizes that racism and its effects are factors in the health disparities in pregnancy outcomes and babies’ health. We must work together to bring fair, just and full access to health care for all moms and babies.
Does a low birth weight cause problems for the baby?
Yes. Babies who weigh less than they should at birth are more likely than babies whose weight is normal to have health problems. Some need special care in a hospital’s newborn intensive care unit (also called NICU) to treat medical problems. These include:
- Breathing problems, such as respiratory distress syndrome (also called RDS). Babies with RDS don’t have a protein called surfactant that keeps small air sacs in a baby’s lungs from collapsing. Treatment with surfactant helps these babies breathe more easily. Babies who have RDS also may need oxygen and other breathing help to make their lungs work.
- Bleeding in the brain (also called intraventricular hemorrhage or IVH). Most brain bleeds are mild and go away on their own. More severe bleeds can cause pressure on the brain that can cause fluid to build up in the brain. This can cause brain damage. In some cases, a surgeon may insert a tube into the baby’s brain to drain the fluid.
- Patent ductus arteriosus. Patent ductus arteriosus is when an opening between 2 major blood vessels leading from the heart does not close properly. This can cause extra blood to flow to the lungs. In many babies who have patent ductus arteriosus, the opening closes on its own within a few days after birth. Some babies need medicine or surgery to close the opening.
- Necrotizing enterocolitis. This is a problem in a baby’s intestines. The intestines are long tubes that are part of the digestive system. The digestive system helps the body break down food. Necrotizing enterocolitis can be dangerous for a baby and can cause feeding problems, swelling in the belly, and other complications. Babies who have necrotizing enterocolitis are treated with antibiotics and fed through an intravenous, or IV, tube. Some babies need surgery to remove damaged parts of intestine.
- Retinopathy of prematurity. This eye disease is what happens when a baby’s retinas don’t fully develop in the weeks after birth.
- Jaundice. This is a condition that makes a baby’s eyes and skin look yellow. It’s caused when there’s too much of a substance called bilirubin in the blood.
- Infections. The immune system protects the body from infection. In a baby who is born too early, the immune system may not be fully developed and may not be able to fight off infection.
Does a low weight at birth cause problems later in life?
Babies who are born weighing too little may be more likely than others to have certain health conditions later in life, including:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Intellectual and developmental disabilities
- Metabolic syndrome
If you’ve had a baby who weighed less than they should have at birth, talk with their health care provider about what you can do to help your baby be healthy. As your child grows, make sure they eat healthy food, stay active and go to all their health care checkups. Regular checkups can help your baby’s provider spot health conditions that may cause problems as your baby grows older. These checkups also help make sure that your child gets all the vaccinations they need to stay protected from certain harmful diseases.
If my baby has developmental delays, do they need early intervention services?
Yes. If your baby has developmental delays, it’s important to get early intervention services as soon as possible. Developmental delays are when your child doesn’t reach developmental milestones when expected. Early intervention services can help improve your child’s development. They can help children from birth through 3 years old learn important skills. Services include therapy to help a child talk, walk, learn self-help skills and interact with others.
The CDC program Learn the signs. Act early offers tools and information for parents who think their child may have developmental delays. You can find your state’s contact information for early intervention services. You don’t need a doctor’s referral or a medical diagnosis to ask for a free screening.
Last reviewed: June, 2021
Baby Weight Chart By Month in Kg: Birth to 1 Year
Like many parents, it is normal to be anxious and confused about the baby’s ideal weight. As first-timers, parents often wonder if the baby’s weight is within normal range. As the baby grows, weight is one of the most significant indicators of the overall health and development of the baby. The newborn baby’s weight is an indicator of the baby’s health. However, over one year, gradual development and changes in body weight occur. In this article, we will take a look at baby weight chart by month in kg and understand how much weight should a baby gain in the first year.
What is the ideal body weight for an infant?
The average body weight established by World Health Organization for a newborn is around 7 and 7 ½ pounds (3.2 to 3.4 kg). However, low birth weight for a baby is found to be due to various reasons, including:
Premature birth of the babies leads to smaller baby size, whereas babies born past their due date may be larger.
Gestational diabetes is another reason leading to a smaller baby size.
Poor nutritional status of the mother during pregnancy might lead to a smaller baby size. However, excessive weight gain might lead to a large baby size.
Gender also sometimes indicates the size of the baby. The baby girl’s weight chart shows that a baby girl is lighter than a baby boy.
Smoking during pregnancy causes adverse effects, of which one is underweight babies.
Baby weight chart by month in kg to know about a baby’s ideal weight
This baby weight chart in kg represents the baby’s ideal weight from birth to one year. The baby girl and baby boy weight chart indicates gender-based standard weight. The table below represents the baby weight chart in kg as well as lbs:
Boys (50th percentile)
Girls (50th percentile)
7. 8 lbs (3.5 kg)
7.5 lbs (3.4 kg)
9 lbs 14 oz (4.5 kg)
9 lbs 4 oz (4.2 kg)
12 lbs 5 oz (5.6 kg)
11 lbs 4 oz (5.1 kg)
14 lbs (6.4 kg)
12 lbs 14 oz (5.8 kg)
15 lbs 7 oz (7.0 kg)
14 lbs 2 oz (6.4 kg)
16 lbs 9 oz (7.5 kg)
15 lbs 3 oz (6.9 kg)
17 lbs 8 oz (7. 9 kg)
16 lbs 2 oz (7.3 kg)
18 lbs 5 oz (8.3 kg)
16 lbs 14 oz (7.6 kg)
19 lbs (8.6 kg)
17 lbs 7 oz (7.9 kg)
19 lbs 10 oz (8.9 kg)
18 lbs 2 oz (8.2 kg)
20 lbs 3 oz (9.2 kg)
18 lbs 11 oz (8.5 kg)
20 lbs 12 oz (9.4 kg)
19 lbs 4 oz (8.7 kg)
21 lbs 3 oz (9. 6 kg)
19 lbs 10 oz (8.9 kg)
Note: 50th percentile means 50% of babies of the same age weigh more, and 50% of babies weigh less. It is an average weight.
Weight gain of the baby in the first year
The newborn baby’s weight will differ from a 2-month baby’s weight due to gradual growth and development. Generally, this is what you can expect in the first 12 months in terms of a baby’s growth:
1. By one month
After one month of their birth, the babies start gaining weight as they develop a regular feeding pattern.
2. Six months
There is a stark difference in the 2 month baby weight, 3 month baby weight, 5 month baby weight, and 6 month baby weight. This is also the period of growth spurt indicated by a big surge of growth within a short period. It happens anytime within the first month to 6 months of birth. The baby needs more milk during this time, which is also known as cluster feeding.
3. One year
Between six months and one year, the weight gain slows down. The 7-month baby’s weight is almost double the baby’s birth weight. The process of cluster feeding slows down, which makes the 8-month baby weight and 9-month baby weight almost similar. The weight increases just 0.5 kg to 1 kg at maximum during this period.
Height chart for new born to 1 year babies
We have already seen the baby weight chart by month in kg, now, let us take a look at the height chart for Indian babies in the first year and understand what their ideal height should be:
|Age (In months)||Boy (Height in cm)||Girl (Height in cm)|
|0||46. 3-53.4||45.6 — 52.7|
|1||51.1 — 58.4||50.0 — 57.4|
|2||54.7 — 62.2||53.2 — 60.9|
|3||57.6 — 65.3||55.8 — 63.8|
|4||60.0 — 67.8||58.0 — 66.2|
|5||61.9 — 69.9||59.9 — 68.2|
|6||63.6 — 71.6||61.5 — 70.0|
|7||65.1 — 73.2||62.9 — 71.6|
|8||66.5 — 74.7||64.3 — 73.2|
|9||67.7 — 76.2||65.6 — 74.7|
|10||69.0 — 77.6||66.8 — 76.1|
|11||70.2 — 78.9||68.0 — 77.5|
|12||71. 3 — 80.2||69.2 — 78.9|
What to do if you are concerned about your baby’s weight?
Contact your paediatrician if your baby does not fall close to the ideal range. The paediatrician will examine and check the baby’s growth rate and provide a personalized nutritional therapy. If the baby is not gaining weight with the supply of mother’s milk, doctors often recommend baby weight gain food. The doctors also recommend supplement or formulation along with the mother’s milk. If your baby has suckling trouble, it is best to contact a lactation consultant to get the best suggestions. Doctors recommend adding solid formulation after 6 months ideally.
The baby’s weight is an important indicator of many things, including the growth and development of the baby. By keeping an eye on the baby weight chart by month in kg and tracking your baby’s weight accordingly, you can keep a record of their growth and take steps to improve it. It is often a matter of worry if your baby is underweight or overweight; hence, consulting the doctor is highly recommended in such cases.
1. Wright CM. (2005). Growth charts for babies. BMJ
2. Dr Parekh, B, Dr Khadilkar, V. Paediatrician friendly IAP Growth Charts for 0-18 years. Indian Academy of Pediatrics
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Child 2 months. Child development calendar for 7th anniversary
Good to know
A two-month-old baby is very sociable and mobile: he smiles at his mother, reports his condition with various sounds and waves his arms and legs with might and main, sometimes hitting a suspended toy.
At the age of 2 months, a child already sees further than a newborn — by 2-3 meters, and learns to fix his eyes on the most interesting subject — the mother’s face. First, the baby and adult make eye contact, soon the 2-month-old baby will give you a smile. The development of a child at 2 months is more emotional than physical. The kid tries to subjugate his arms and legs, but they move mostly randomly.
|2 months||Lower limit||Upper limit|
|Weight of boys, kg||4.2||6.0 900 12|
|Weight of girls, kg||4.2||5.5|
|Height of boys, cm||53.8||59.4|
|Height of girls, cm .3|
|Head circumference of boys, cm||37.4||41.0|
|Head circumference of girls, cm||36. 7||39.8 7||40.8|
|Girls chest circumference, cm||35.6||39.9|
Height and weight of children at 2 months — standards according to WHO
|2 months||Lower limit 900 12||Upper limit|
|Weight of boys, kg||4.3||7.1|
|Weight of girls, kg 012||54.4||62.4|
|Height of girls, cm||53.0||61.1|
|Head circumference of boys, cm||36.8||41.5|
|Head circumference of girls, cm||35.8||40 .7|
Feeding a child at 2 months
Breastfeeding on demand, without a pronounced regimen. Frequent attachments can occur up to 4 times per hour, full feedings after about 40 minutes — 2.5 hours. The main time of night feedings is between 3 and 8 hours. A 2-month-old baby usually asks for a breast when falling asleep and when waking up.
Care for a 2-month-old baby
Urination is still frequent, but the baby is able to sleep dry and wake up to signal to the mother. The chair can be either 5-8 times a day, or once a day and even every other day.
Sleep. A baby at 2 months begins to noticeably less sleep. He usually has 5 periods of daytime sleep, 2 long ones — 1-3 hours each and 3 short ones — 10-30 minutes each. A night sleep is established lasting 10-12 hours (with breaks for feeding, during which the child may not wake up completely). During sleep, the baby may still need to limit space (sleep buried in a pillow), including swaddling — if he wakes himself up by throwing up his arms.
The lists of the main indicators of the child’s development for the pages of the calendar are based on the materials of Elena Borisovna Volosova’s book «The Development of the Young Child» by the Linka-Press publishing house.
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How much should a child weigh in a standard year
- Main page
- Weight in the first month of life
- The meaning of these marks is as follows
- Weight in the second month of life
- The weight of the child in the third month and up to a year
- Weight in the next stages of a baby’s life
- Causes of underweight in children
- Child suffering from underweight
- Obesity in children
- The consequences of obesity can be
Caring parents are interested in every process that takes place in the body of their child in the course of his growing up. The weight and height of a child are important quantitative indicators that must be taken into account from the first months of a baby’s life. They are evidence of the normal physical development of the body. So, let’s figure out how much weight a child should have, depending on age. It must be remembered that everyone has their own individual characteristics, which should also be paid attention to.
Weight in the first month of life
Do not be afraid if the weight of the child at the time of discharge has become less than after birth — this is a completely normal process, during which the baby loses some of the fluid through the lungs and skin. There is also the release of meconium (feces) and drying of the umbilical cord. In this case, the baby can lose up to 8% of the body weight that was registered at birth. About a week after birth, the weight of the child again comes to the initial figures. Then the process of weight gain begins, because the body receives nutrients from formulas for feeding and breast milk. Normal weight indicators depend on the initial weight of the child. It should be borne in mind that with the proper functioning of the body, the increase can be up to 800 grams.
Remember that height is an integral parameter in any formula. The increase in height for the first month should be up to 3.5 cm. Pediatricians use special tables, after which they enter values from 1 to 7 on the map.
The weight also depends on the sex of the child. As a rule, girls are born with less weight than boys. Over time, the indicators grow in different ways (depending on gender).
Weight at the second month of life
Normally, a two-month-old baby should weigh 4300-4900 grams. The weight gain in premature babies is calculated a little differently (having reached the age of two months, they weigh the same as newborns born in the ninth month of pregnancy). Many people believe that feeding affects changes in a child’s weight, but experts say that nutrition does not play a big role here.
Weight of a child in the third month and up to a year
The third month is extremely important in the life and development of an infant. You can see how his cheeks and tummy are rounded, which occurs as a result of the restructuring of metabolic processes. At the same time, the «font» of the child is still soft, so it is necessary to carefully monitor the hygiene of the baby. From this age, he already determines what he likes and what not, demonstrating emotions by crying or joy. He can look at his limbs with interest, roll over on his side. The period of wakefulness of the baby is increased to 2 hours. Three-month-old girls weigh 5200-5800 g, boys — 5700-6400. It is important to control the nutrition of the child. If body weight is growing rapidly, then it is better to start expressing milk. Deviations from the norm up to 7% are acceptable, but if it reaches 12% and above, then it is better to start taking action.
Weight in the next stages of the baby’s life
- 4 months — about 7 kg. From this point on, weight gain will be less intense (by 50 grams).
- 5 months — 6500-7000 g for girls, 6900-7300 — for boys. With underweight from this age, you can introduce complementary foods in the form of cereals and infant formula.
- 6 months — weight increases by 150 grams per month. Children may normally weigh between 7500 and 8000 g.
- 7 months — 7600-8000 grams, weight gain from this time may be 300-400 g.
- 8 months — 8000-8500 grams. Moreover, growth increases by 2-4 cm.
- 9 months — 8500-9000 grams. However, a child can weigh up to 10 kg. Nutrition should be carefully monitored.
- 10 months — the average weight of a child is 9.5 kg (the value is averaged, because girls, for example, may weigh less).
- 11-12 months — approximate body weight — 10 kg. At the same time, the height of the child is 74-80 cm.
Causes of underweight in children
- Underfeeding. This happens when there is not enough breast milk, as a result of which the baby’s body is not saturated. The norm of milk consumption is 1/6 of its body weight (per day). The solution to the problem is a consultation with a pediatrician and the choice of a mixture for feeding.
- Disease. With nasal congestion, the baby breathes through the mouth, while it is quite difficult for him to feed from a bottle. Also, complications with eating cause inflammation of the oral mucosa (stomatitis caused by fungi), digestive disorders.
- Zinc deficiency. This indicator depends on the concentration of this element in the mother’s body. A breastfeeding mother should take vitamins. If the child is artificially fed, then it is necessary to choose the right food complex.
- Body structure. You should not worry about this, because complexion is a factor given by nature through genetic factors.
- often cries from hunger
- is mineral deficient
- has pale skin
Obesity in children
Obesity in a child is considered to be 15% overweight.