We've all heard the old wives tales and there's a lot of conflicting opinions out there. But one thing we can agree on is that no one can predict what will happen to your baby's health as they grow up. However, it's important to pay attention to some factors that can be more telling for future health statuses such as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), birth weight, and gestational age.
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is what happens when an infant dies unexpectedly and for no obvious reason. There are many factors that can increase the risk of SIDS, but one thing we know for certain is that having a mother who smokes during pregnancy can triple the risk of SIDS. This has caused doctors to take precautionary measures like putting infants on their back to sleep instead of their stomachs to reduce the risk.
A low birth weight infant is another reliable predictor for future health status. Infants who weigh less than 5 pounds at birth are more susceptible to autoimmune disorders later in life like Type 1 Diabetes or asthma, as well as cardiovascular disease and obesity. Low birth weight also correlates with poorer mental development scores for infants.
The final factor that can be used to predict future health status is the gestational age of the infant. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines a full-term pregnancy as lasting between 38 and 42 weeks, where 37 weeks or less is considered a preterm birth. Infants born prematurely have a much higher risk for developing chronic conditions later in life like bronchopulmonary dysplasia (a chronic lung disease), cerebral palsy, asthma, and intellectual disabilities.
In conclusion, while there are many factors that come into play when trying to determine what will happen with your children's future health statuses, some things we do know for certain include using tobacco products during pregnancy, low birth weight, and gestational age.