Essay on Low Birth Weight

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Low Birth Weight

Low birth weight (LBW) is a term used to describe infants that are born under 2, 500 grams, or less than five pounds eight ounces. This is a disorder that plagues certain races, age groups, and the poor. Seven percent of all infants who are born in the United States are born too small and eleven percent are born too soon ( Behrman). There are many risk factors that put a mother at risk of having a low birth weight baby, as there are many complications early and later in life for the child.

There are certain women who are more likely to have a child who is born extremely under weight. These influences can be ethnic, environmental, and genetic. Recent studies have shown that thirty to forty percent of
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The environment of a woman during her pregnancy directly relates to the size of the baby at birth. Families living in poor income families have a greater number of LBW children. Women who are involved in abusive relationships are also putting there unborn children at risk. This doesn't only include physical abuse, but mental also. Women who are in stressful relationships or environments are more likely to give birth to low birth weight children (LBW At a Glance).

There are a few things that a woman can do to decrease the risk. The first is to stop smoking, this is the leading cause of LBW. A healthy diet and exercise are also important. Prenatal care is important in all pregnancies. Prenatal care has not been directly linked to preventing LBW, however, it doesn't hurt.

There are so many problems that can occur when dealing with a LBW child. These babies are much more susceptible to infection because of their size (Zaichkin 191). They are also at a greater risk for SIDS. SIDS is sudden infant death syndrome. The risk of this horrible syndrome is much greater with a low birth weight child (322). These children are also at a thirty to fifty percent greater risk of being re-hospitalized during their first year of life (355). They are also at a much higher risk of getting Cerebral Palsy.

These children are much more likely to have brain damage, liver problems, and lung difficulties (Behrman). Chronic lung
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