Babies born to poor mothers are more likely to be born with a low birth weight (LBW), yet its effects extend beyond infant death rates. Birthweight and its association with latter poverty is a major predictor of several measures of development for children who survive into the first year of life. In particular, LBW babies suffer from neurological impairments. Infants born prematurely with LBW have been found to have head circumferences that are less than normal and are relatively typical in infants up to the age of seven months, with a catch-up period.
Other health-related concerns, such as iron deficiency and short stature, are more common in preterm birth children. Some LBW children’s families may be subjected to considerable psychological stress, especially if the child reassigned to low birth weight has also been linked to low socioeconomic status, according to research. However, poverty by itself can cause major health concerns, including mortality. By the time they reach the age of one year, the poor children have increased mortality risks.
Factors Contributing to a Low Birth Weight Baby
Premature birth, defined as a child born before 37 weeks of pregnancy. Malnutrition due to poverty is the chief reason for premature birth. A baby born soon has much less time in the mother’s uterus to develop and build weight. The complete three trimesters are required for the baby to develop completely in the mother’s uterus.
The other possible explanation for low birth weight is intrauterine growth restriction. The baby’s development is slowed down owing to placenta problems, maternal health problems, or birth malformations. The intrauterine growth constraint (IUGR) impacts both preterm and fully grown newborns, tiny, biologically immature, preterm newborns with IUGR, whereas fully grown IUGR infants may become developed but vulnerable.
Premature birth increases the likelihood of a tiny baby. There are, however, several variables that can increase the chance of low birth weight. Some of them are as follows:
Poverty: Poor mothers cannot afford good nutrition and health facilities, and it directly impacts babies’ birth weight.
Age of the mother: Teen moms (particularly those under the age of 15) are more likely to have a baby with low birth weight.
Multiple births: Because of multiple births, babies are mostly premature, and are at an elevated risk of low birth weight.
Mother’s health: Babies born to moms who have used illegal substances, alcohol, or cigarettes are more likely to be born underweight. Low-income mothers are also more likely to possess poor pregnancy nutrition, insufficient prenatal care, and pregnancy problems, all of which can lead to low birth weight.
Nearly every young baby with low birth weight needs immediate treatment in the newborn intensive care unit (NICU) until they become normal. Fortunately, babies measuring 3 pounds, 5 ounces to 5 pounds, and 8 ounces have a 95% probability of survival.
Prevention of Low Birth Weight
Prenatal care is one of the chief ways to prevent low birth weight babies. Low birth weight babies are classified into low birth weight, very low birth weight, and extremely low birth weight. Keeping pre-existing medical condition under control, and making healthy lifestyle changes are other measures help to prevent low birth weight.
The well-being of both mother and fetus can be monitored during prenatal visits. Since motherly nutrition and weight increase are linked to fetal weight gain and birth weight, it is crucial to follow a balanced diet and get proper weight during pregnancy. Mothers should avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and illegal substances that can lead to reduced fetal development.
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