Once pregnancy is confirmed all the would-be mothers start dreaming of giving birth to a well baby in all terms – being healthy, chubby and so on. A few of these factors are in mother’s hand and a few can’t be decided by mother!
One of the criteria that is almost entirely dependent on mother is the weight of the baby. Everyone would wish to give birth to a baby of optimum weight! If so, what is the optimum weight?
The weight of the baby at birth is termed as Birth Weight of the baby. The normal birth weight is 2.5 kilograms (Kg). Birth weight less than 2.5Kg is abnormal and birth weight beyond 2.5 Kg is a healthy baby unless and until specified!!
India being a developing country, abnormalities are always on the higher side. Over 28% of all the pregnancies results in delivering a baby with abnormal weight – to be more specific low birth weight!
What is Low birth weight? Low birth weight is the term used to describe the babies who are born weighing less than 2.5 Kg. Babies with low birth weight look very small than babies born with normal birth weight.
What causes Low birth weight? There are many possible causes for low birth weight –
- Pre-term delivery – Baby gets very less time to spend in the womb of the mother thus leading to less growth
- Intra uterine growth retardation (IUGR)
- Positive family history
- Multiple pregnancy like twins, triplets
- Baby with inherited diseases
- Placental abnormalities
- High blood pressure during pregnancy
How does low birth weight affect the growth of the baby? Low birth weight affects the overall health of the baby in multiple ways. The impact on the health of the baby include increased risk of –
- Breathing problems in baby and condition called as Respiratory Distress Syndrome
- Easy susceptibility to infection
- Feeding problems
- Difficulty in keeping baby warm
- Problems with digestion
- Problems with brain functioning and development
Caring a Low birth weight baby – As such infants or babies need extra care and time. If the baby is low birth weight then the baby deserves even extra care. The care to be offered includes –
- Adequate breast feeding – feed the baby on timely basis and not on request
- Planned wellness check ups
- Up to date immunizations
- Avoid crowded places as it leads to allergies and infections
- Keep the baby away from contagious diseases
Prevention of Low birth weight – Low birth weight can be prevented with adequate and timely ante natal checkups, cutting down on maternal habits, vigilant check on weight gain during pregnancy.
Babies born with low birth weight do survive but after tremendous and individualized care from group of physicians and the mother herself!