Low Birth Weight Babies

Low Birth Weight (LBW)Babies are babies born with a weight less than 2500 gm or <5lbs 8 oz. This can be due to the following causes:

  1. Prematurity – delivery before 37 weeks pregnancy
  2. Maternal conditions during pregnancy, associated with elevated blood pressure also called hypertension. Conditions such as pre-eclampsia, and eclampsia are always accompanied by hypertension. Chronic or long-standing diabetes may be invariably accompanied by hypertension as well.
  3. Maternal infections especially those that occur in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Included in these situations are viral illnesses often characterized by one or more of the following symptoms: fever, headache, cough, colds, rashes, body malaise or weakness
  4. Placenta or cord abnormalities/accidents. During the course of a pregnancy, the placenta and the cord connect the baby to the mother’s circulation for the acquisition of nutrients, including oxygen and hormones and also serve as the conduit for the excretion of by-products of the baby’s metabolism. During the whole of gestation, its development, position, size and attachment to the mother’s uterus can be disorganized or disturbed such that the baby inside may not receive all the appropriate nutrients  and growth can be compromised. The umbilical cord, likewise, may twist and form knots that reduce blood supply to the baby, again decreasing nutrients and hampering growth of the baby.
  5. Maternal malnutrition, genetic background or residence in high altitude locations
  6. Twins or multiple pregnancies
  7. Congenital malformation and/or gene abnormality inherent to the baby, and not related to any maternal condition during pregnancy