Low Birth Weight in Babies Puts Newborns at Risk of Death

Anju Bisht

, Health A2Z


UNICEF-WHO estimates of low birth weight in babies illustrated 20.5 million babies globally- which is 1 in every 7 living babies- in 2015.”


In general, the healthy weight of newborns means a lot at the time of birth. It depicts maternal and fetal health, nutrition and a higher risk of death in the low weight newborns. Those who survive likely to suffer other conditions in the future. In the following, we’ll be thorough about the condition concern.


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What does low birth weight in babies depict?


The “concern” briefs about the problem of babies born with weighing less than 2,500 grams or less than 5 pounds, 8 ounces.  However, a normal newborn weighs about 8 pounds. A low weight baby is at risk of dying within 28 days after birth otherwise might suffer severe health conditions. Although some of them may remain healthy, even so, being small.


The condition has long been considered as a public health priority and now recognized as global commitment after the adoption of the Global Nutrition Targets in 2012. But in terms of progress, there are still a number of challenges to overcome.


Causes concern


The possible reason for low birth weight in babies can be Premature birth and/or intrauterine growth restriction.


Premature birth


The term premature birth is referred to as the birth of a baby which is too soon or less than 37 weeks of pregnancy. The matter here is the baby got less time to grow and gain weight in the womb of the mother. You can consider it as the less time the baby gets, the lower will be the birth weight. So, get help from a health provider as to what you can do to lower the risk of premature birth.


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Intrauterine growth restriction may cause low birth weight in babies


The condition can be called fetal growth restriction(FGR). FGR is about when the baby fails to gain weight or grow well in the womb of the mother. The cause of growth-restriction can be due to low/high maternal age or something slowed or stopped their growth. The risk factors involving can be smoking, alcohol, medically unnecessary cesarean deliveries, etc.


To track the growth of baby a health provider might measure your belly or perform an ultrasound.


Who are at risk of low birth weight baby?


The risk factors do not confirm that you will have a low weight baby. These factors just state that you are at risk. In case, you can talk to a doctor about how to reduce the risk.


Medical condition


  • Preterm labor: In the condition, you will experience early labor which is before 37 weeks of pregnancy.


  • Chronic condition: A condition that lasts longer or happens time and again. The conditions that may lead to low birth weight in babies are high blood pressure, diabetes, heart, lung, and kidney problems.


  • Taking Medications: You taking medications to treat certain health conditions puts you at risk. A provider will help you in the perspective either will recommend you to switch with the safer ones or to stop taking.


  • Certain infections also put the baby in the risk of restricted growth, especially infections in the uterus during pregnancy.


  • Previously had a premature baby or a growth-restricted baby.


  • Pregnant with Multiples: The one who is pregnant with twins, triplets or more. Half of the multiply births have low birthweight.


  • Not gaining enough weight: A pregnant not gaining enough weight during pregnancy is likely to have a low birth weight baby.


As the latter point, there are certain lifestyle factors such as smoking, alcohol use, using street drugs and abusing prescription drugs adds to the risk factor. Besides, exposure to air pollution and domestic violence can be counted as one among the factors leading to low birth weight.


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