Factors that Increase Risk of Low Birth Weight in Newborns
Author : Dr. Sujata Rathod | Published On : 02 Sep 2021
Low birth weight refers to babies weighing less than 8 ounces. Low weight in babies can cause serious health problems. While some newborns weighing below 5 pounds are born healthy, others might need treatment to address the problems that might occur because of their weight. There can be many causes of the low birth weight of a child, the common one being premature delivery.
For the baby to be born healthy, it must be born after 37 weeks of pregnancy. If the mother delivers the child before this period, there is a good chance the baby will weigh less than the normal weight of a healthy newborn. This happens because the fetus does not get enough time in the mother’s womb to develop properly. And, the fetus gains weight in the latter stages of the pregnancy. Let’s take a look at a few other factors that can lead to low birth weight issues in babies.
Intrauterine Growth Restriction
The common cause of low-born babies is the birth defect due to problems with the placenta or the mother’s health during pregnancy. This is called the intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR), a condition that might have a severe impact on the baby’s weight and health. If the baby with IUGR is born before the full gestation period, they are highly likely to be small in size and have health problems.
The babies that are born full-term must look mature but are usually weak. Some babies are born with low weight because their growth stopped during the pregnancy. That’s why ultrasound tests are performed to check the position and health of the baby at different stages of pregnancy. This report gives a clear picture of the baby’s growth.
You can consult with the practicing gynecologist In Kasarvadavali Thane to track your baby’s growth. If they find any errors in the ultrasound, they will ask you to take the ultrasound test every 2-3 weeks and recommend medication and other treatment to address the problem. The practitioner might also advise a series of other tests to monitor your kid’s heartbeat and identify any birth defect.
- Race: Though color doesn’t really have any impact on the baby’s weight, research has shown that African-Americans report a larger number of low birth weight in newborns than others.
- Placenta: The placenta manages the oxygen and blood supply for your baby. Your fetus gets oxygen and other supplies through the umbilical cord. It goes without saying that any problem with the placenta can slow your baby’s growth as its ability to supply oxygen and nutrients to the baby is reduced.
- Mother’s Age: As mentioned earlier, the mother’s health has a direct impact on the child’s weight. Teen mothers are highly likely to give birth to a child with low weight than adults. Similarly, a weak mother or someone suffering from PCOS and other health issues is at high risk of low birth weight delivery. Though there is no clinical research that says that PCOS affects the baby’s weight at the time of delivery, it’s better to visit a PCOS Specialist Khopat Road Thane and take the necessary precautions in advance.
- Multiple Birth: In most cases, multiple births lead to premature delivery (which is the number one cause of newborns with low weight issues. Then again, it doesn’t always hold true!
- Chronic Diseases: The mother diagnosed with a chronic illness, such as diabetes, heart or lung disease, kidney problems, and more is at high risk of preterm birth and low birthweight babies. Your existing medications for any chronic illness or a normal problem can also interfere with the baby’s growth. That’s why you should discuss your medical history and the current medication with the gynecologist to ensure that your medical condition will cause no harm to your baby.
- Infection: If you have a history of reproductive infection or are suffering from one at the time of pregnancy, you are at an increased risk of low birthweight babies. Certain types of reproductive infections and diseases can lead to problems with your baby’s weight. This includes Rubella, toxoplasmosis, and sexually transmitted diseases.
- Mother’s Health and Lifestyle: There is a reason why gynecologists ask mothers to avoid alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, tobacco, and anything that could pose a risk to the baby’s health. These harmful substances not only cause long-term and chronic illnesses, but a sedentary lifestyle can have a serious impact on the baby’s weight. There is a chance the kid of the mother living a sedentary life will be born low weight. Similarly, inadequate prenatal care can be the cause of low-weight babies and complications in pregnancy. The lack of nutrition and a poor diet can stop the baby’s growth.
In addition to the factors mentioned above, domestic violence can also cause preterm births and low birthweight babies. The physical, mental, and emotional abuse can affect the child’s growth.
A vast majority of children weighing less than 5 pounds are given specialized care in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit). Even if the baby is healthy, the doctors recommend intensive care until they gain adequate weight. There is no problem with the survival of newborns with low weight. Babies weighing up to 3 pounds have a 95% chance of survival.
Is There any Way to Prevent Low Birth Weight?
Fortunately, there are a few ways to prevent low birth weight babies. For instance, prenatal care has a significant impact on the baby’s health and growth at the time of pregnancy. So, proper prenatal care, a balanced diet, and a healthy lifestyle are a few effective tips for preventing low birth weight.
Mother’s health plays a crucial role in the fetus’ growth, which is why it is important that mothers take care of their health, diet, and medication. Regular checkups and visits to gynecologists are a must. Plus, you must take ultrasounds and other tests to monitor the growth of the fetus. Anything that can cause pregnancy complications, such as illicit drugs and alcohol, should be avoided.