Low birthweight is when a baby is born weighing less than 5 pounds, 8 ounces (2500 grams). This can happen in premature and full term births. There is a variety of reasons that can lead to low birthweight such as infections, diabetes, hypertension, placenta related problems and intrauterine growth restriction. Smoking, poor nutrition, drug and alcohol abuse are other causes of low birth weight. Low birth weight is associate with a negative impact on families. Financial, caretaker, and familial burdens are some of the impacts. Low birth weight can have serious and long term consequences than increase the cost for care. Children born with low birth weight are at increased risk of chronic conditions and developmental problems, as well as the need for special educations services and special healthcare. Short term problems related to low birthweight include respiratory distress syndrome, intraventricular hemorrhage, inability to maintain body temperature, and infections. Long term problems include increased risk for diabetes, heart diseases and obesity. The rates of low birthweight varies among different ethnic groups. Teenager mother and being older than 35 are at increased risk to have babies with low birthweight. According to March of dimes,” In the United States, black women are more likely than others to have a low-birthweight baby”. In my community, a support service that assist with preterm infants and their families is WIC program. A special supplemental nutrition program for women, infants, and children. It is a Federally-funded nutrition program that help low income families. Guidance regarding to nutrition, breastfeeding, and immunizations are provided. Referrals, support groups, and education is also available through WIC program.
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