Low Birth Weight Babies

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

About one in every 12 babies in the United States is born with low birth weight. This can lead to many potential problems for the child. In todays 60 Second Housecall, Dr. Edward Hill tells us more about low birth weight in babies.

Dr. Hill:

Babies are born with low birth weight because of prematurity, poor intrauterine growth or both.

Low birth weight refers to babies who weigh less than 5-and-a-half pounds. Very low birth weight refers to babies who weigh less than 3-and-one-third pounds at birth.

The most common causes of low birth weight are:

Multiple gestation, or carrying more than one fetus

Substance abuse, such as smoking, drinking alcohol or using illegal drugs while pregnant, and

Chronic medical conditions such as high blood pressure

Low birth weight can affect nearly every organ in the body. Some low-birth-weight babies need special care in the hospital after birth. They may need help with breathing, staying warm, protection against infection and getting enough nutrition.

Some of these problems will get better over time, but some may be life-long. For very low-birth-weight babies, specific health concerns vary greatly and are closely linked to their birth weight.

See a doctor as soon as you think you are pregnant and continue getting regular prenatal checkups throughout pregnancy.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.