Low birth weight refers to a baby who weighs less than 5.5 pounds at birth. Measurements of low birth weight have been expanded to include very low birth  weight for infants weighing less than 3.3 pounds or 1,500 grams and extremely  low birth weight for infants weighing less than 2.2 pounds or 1000 grams.
low birth weight

What causes low birth weight in babies?

A baby may be small for his gestational age due to the following :


What health conditions in a mother can result in babies with low birth weight?


Health conditions such as the following can cause this condition in babies


My baby has low birth weight. What are some of the challenges he will face?


Some of the complications babies with low birth weight face include :

  •  low blood sugar
  • increased risk of infections
  • respiratory distress syndrome (RDS)
  • difficulty keeping warm
  • too many red blood cells causing blood to be thick (polycythaemia)
  • problems feeding


Are there any ways to prevent low birth weight in babies?


You cannot prevent this condition but lifestyle changes may reduce your risk .

  • Avoid smoking and drinking during pregnancy.
  • Eat healthy
  • Manage health conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes
  • Get thorough medical checkup if you plan to get pregnant
  • Keep up with prenatal visit during pregnancy



Content Sources
Birth weight. National Library of Medicine. MedlinePlus. Accessed June 10, 2014

Low birth weight. March of Dimes. http://www.marchofdimes.com/baby/low-birthweight.aspx. Accessed June 10, 2014

Low birthweight in newborns.Boston Children’s Hospital.http://www.childrenshospital.org/health-topics/conditions/low-birthweight-in-newborns. Accessed June 10, 2014

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