Excessive Low Birthweight Babies

Excessive Low Birthweight Babies


According to WHO, low birth weight babies (LBW)  is a term used to describe babies born weighing less than 5 pounds, 8 ounces (2500 grams). Currently, over 8 percent of all newborns are classified as having low birth weight in the United States. However, their overall number is gradually rising. Small birth weight babies are further organized into four sub-groups depending on their weight, that is, low birth weight  1500-2500 grams, low-birth-weight <1500 grams, little birth weight < 1000 grams and Micro-preemie <800 grams. It is important to point out that most of these low birth weight babies are as a result of multiple gestations since they are the highest risk of being born early and weighing less. However, the primary cause of LBW babies is prematurity.  Other reasons include intrauterine growth restriction, maternal exposure to alcohol, smoking and illicit medications, teen motherhood and the African American race (Patki & Antin, 2017).

Effects of deficient birth weight babies

Short-term impact

LBW babies are prone to developing several complications immediately after birth. Most of these babies require resuscitation and oxygen therapy soon after since there are likely to low oxygen blood saturation as a result of the immaturity of their lungs. Most of them end up developing respiratory distress syndrome or transient tachypnea of the newborn that necessitates the use of CPAP (Continuous positive airway pressure) to improve their breathing (Patki & Antin, 2017).

Besides, most of these infants have thermoregulatory issues that necessitate the used of incubators to keep them warm. They cannot maintain their body temperatures. Additionally, these babies have difficulty feeding thus gain weight slowly. Their sucking reflex most of the time is poorly developed or absent necessitating the need for occupational therapy hence increase medical cost on the community (Calloni et al., 2015).

Social-economic implications

The parents of these babies particularly the mothers are forced to live in the hospital for weeks or even months as they nurse these babies in the neonatal care unit. This weakens the family bond, and they stay away from their families for a long time. At the same time, they encounter a lot of mental and physical stress as they nurse their babies in the hospital. Most of the time they have to feed them regularly after every three hours, and this exhausts them physically (Patki & Antin, 2017).

The medical expenses associated with caring for these babies is very high. This result in drainage of family resources with could have channeled into other valuable income-generating activities. In this way, there is a rise of poverty in the community immensely as considerable wealth is drained out.

Long-term impacts

Being born with little birth weight poses long-term severe health implication on the affected infants and society.  Caring for these infants causes their mother to lose educational training and job opportunities in life. Besides, some end up losing their source of livelihood due to the increased demand caring for these children poses on them. The parents may develop long-term psychiatric issues like depression, anxiety and mood swings. The babies are at risk of developing neurological issues like cerebral palsy and mental retardation. Besides, most end up with mild problems in neuro-motor functioning, attention, and cognition. There is emerging evidence that Excessive LBW is also associated with chronic non-communicable disease in adulthood especially renal insufficiency, metabolic syndrome, and hypertension possible due to the lower number of nephrons, acquired intrauterine or later in life (Khan et al., 2017).

Comorbidities associated with prematurity

Excessive LBW is associated with several other medical conditions that can arise at birth or after that. This includes intraventricular hemorrhage, respiratory distress syndrome, neonatal jaundice, retinopathy of prematurity, congenital heart conditions, sudden infant death syndrome and gastrointestinal issues like necrotizing enterocolitis.

Ethnic disparities

In the United States, there exists a glaring gap in the prevalence of cases of excessive LBW by ethnicity and race especially between white and black American women.it is currently recognized that the rate among African American women has been twice that of the whites for the last decades. The exact cause for this disparity is not apparent. However, several contributing factors have been postulated. This includes a high level of poverty amongst African, poor access to health services, and use of alcohol and other illicit medication amongst African American women (Tchamo, Prista & Leandro, 2016).

Support service

The organization that offers support to preterm infants in my community is called PreemieCre. This organization provides education and other resources to families with these children. The organization provides counseling services to these mothers, helps in the purchasing of infants feeds and medications and sometimes offers to pay part of the medical bill of these infants when getting discharged from new-born units (Brown et al., 2015).