Low Birth Weight
Around seven per cent of babies in the UK are born weighing less than 2.5kg (5lb 8oz). These babies are catagorised as having a low birth weight.
Which Babies are at risk of Low Birth Weight?Babies born prematurely because they haven't had a chance to grow fully
Babies born with certain inherited medical conditions
Twins and multiples because they have a smaller space to grow in and they are usually delivered prematurely
Those affected by problems during pregnancy that reduce blood flow to the fetus (eg. pre-eclampsia or high blood pressure)
Babies born to smaller than average parents
Babies born to parents of Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, African-Caribbean and black African origin
Mothers who had health or emotional problems during pregnancy may have slowed their babies growth as well. These problems include:
Chronic heart, lung or kidney disease
Drinking too much alcohol
Taking recreational drugs
Does Having a Low Birth Weight Affect the Baby at all?Problems faced by low birth weight babies are usually caused not by the low birth weight itself but by the underlying problem that caused the low birth weight.
Low birth weight babies may have:
Too many red blood cells making their blood very thick
Breathing difficulties as a result of inhaling their first poo
Low blood sugar
Some studies have shown that low birth weight babies grow up with a lower intelligence than others and may have behavioural issues or mental health problems. However, there are also studies which show that low birth weight babies grow up to perform just as well as those with average birth weight.
Some people also suggest that low birth weight babies are more likely to develop heart disease or diabetes but there is no concrete evidence to prove this.