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Pregnancy Topics..

You are here : home > Pregnancy > Related Articles for Pregnancy > Low Birth Weight in Babies

Low Birth Weight in Babies

Factors like premature birth and intrauterine growth restrictions are responsible for low birth weight in babies. Let us find more about the causes of low birth weight in babies.

When a new born baby weighs less than 2500 grams or 5 pounds and 8 ounces, it is said to be born with a low birth weight. On an average, a healthy new born is born weighing 7 pounds. It is not desirable for a baby to weigh less than 7 pounds as this can give rise to a multitude of health issues and immunity deficiencies.

It has been noticed that around 7-8% babies are born with low birth weight across the world and this rate is comparatively higher in certain countries like America, Japan and Britain. Mostly low birth weight in babies are commonly found where there are instances of multiple births; then the babies tend to get delivered early and therefore weigh less than average. Babies with low birth weight not only appear smaller, but the head appears larger in proportion to the rest of the body. The body looks too thin as the body fat content is very low.

The Reasons for Low Birth Weight

Here are some of the common causes of low birth weight in babies.

Premature Birth

The principal cause leading to low birth weight is early or premature birth. Early birth denotes that the baby had lesser time to grow in the womb of the mother, as the gestation period is below 37 weeks; thereby the weight gained is simultaneously lesser than normal. It is to be noted that the baby grows at maximum pace and gains the major part of its weight only during the later part of the third trimester, that is, the late part of the pregnancy tenure. 

IUGR or Intrauterine Growth Restriction

This is the other cause leading to low birth weight. Here, the natural development and weight gain is restricted due to issues with the placenta, the overall health of the mother or any other birth defect. It is possible that the baby is born after completing the full term, that is 37 to 41 weeks and yet have IUGR. So IUGR babies might be mature, but they are physically very weak. Then again IUGR babies can be born early and thereby appear very small and are immature.

People Most Affected By Low Birth Weight

Any baby with premature birth appears tiny and weak. Apart from the ones mentioned above, there can be several other factors that lead to low birth weight in babies, like:

Age – This refers to the age of the mother. If the mother happens to be a teen, especially below 15-16 years, they are more likely to give birth to a baby with low birth weight. 

Race – There is a general trend that the Caucasian babies are likely to be healthier than the African-American babies, who are more likely to be born with low birth weight.

Multiple Births – Most multiple birth babies are born with low birth weight as they do not get adequate time to mature. Usually over 50% of the twins and other multiple births are likely to be born with low birth weight.

The Health of The Mother – If the mother happens to be a habitual smoker, drug addict or takes in alcohol regularly, the babies born to them are more exposed to be born with a low birth weight. Then again if the mother is unable to meet the nutritional requirements of pregnancy, has insufficient prenatal care and/or suffers from any other pregnancy related issues, the babies born are more likely to be of low birth weight.

Therefore, it is very important to take adequate precautions during and even before planning a pregnancy so that the baby is born healthy. However, if the baby is born with low birth weight due to undue circumstances, special attention needs to be paid so that the baby is well protected from all the probable complications related to poor health and lack of immunity issues as much as possible. Parents and the doctors must work in tandem to ensure that the baby is kept warm, with adequate oxygen levels, protected from infections and restored to good health as early as possible.

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Manik Karna.5 years ago
Low birth weight babies are common in developing countries and this is mainly die to poor health of the mother. Nutritional deficiency leads to low birth weight babies.
Mairi.5 years ago
In many cases, it is possible to prevent low birth weight babies but when factors such as genetics come into play, it is avoidable but still precautions can be taken...I appreciate this article
Lolly.5 years ago
very informative article! I really liked the factors that lead to low birth weight in babies so basically we can prevent low birth weight babies....
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What are the causes of low birth weight in babies? How can expecting mothers prevent low birth weight in babies? How to take care of a baby with a low birth weight?
One of the common causes of low birth weight babies is premature births. intrauterine growth restriction is also one of the major causes. Other common causes include age of the mother ie young mother...
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Low birth weight babies can be prevented. Preventing preterm births is best way to prevent babies born with low birthweight. another aspect is good prenatal care for preventing preterm births and low ...
Suhasi Dhami
Low birth weight babies are those who are born with a weight below 2.5 kg. A low birth weight baby needs much care and attention as they are at a risk of developing various health problems. Breastfeed...
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