Low Birth Weight Flashcards, test questions and answers
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What is Low Birth Weight?
Low birth weight is a serious public health problem that affects thousands of babies each year. Low birth weight is defined as any baby born weighing less than 2500 grams or 5.5 pounds. Babies born with a low birth weight are at an increased risk for long-term physical and cognitive disabilities, as well as respiratory, digestive and cardiovascular problems in infancy and beyond. There are many factors that contribute to low birth weight in infants, such as maternal nutrition, chronic conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure during pregnancy, drug or alcohol use while pregnant, smoking while pregnant, being underweight before becoming pregnant or being over 35 years old when giving birth. Other contributing factors can include teenage pregnancy, premature labor or delivery complications such as pre-eclampsia (high blood pressure), infection during pregnancy and poor prenatal care. In order to reduce the incidence of low birth weight babies it is important for mothers to receive adequate nutrition prior to and during their pregnancy. It has been suggested that women planning on becoming pregnant should begin taking prenatal vitamins at least three months prior to conception in order to ensure proper nutrition for the developing fetus. Women should also practice healthy lifestyle habits such as avoiding cigarettes and recreational drugs while pregnant, maintaining a healthy diet that includes adequate amounts of protein, vitamins C & D and other essential nutrients throughout their pregnancies; exercising regularly; getting enough sleep; avoiding environmental toxins like lead paint; drinking only moderate amounts of caffeine; reducing stress levels; visiting their health care provider regularly for checkups and tests; avoiding infections which can be spread by pets (e.g., toxoplasmosis) ; seeking advice from mental health professionals if necessary and staying away from dangerous areas where violence may occur (e.g., drive-by shootings). It is also important for healthcare providers to work together with expectant mothers in order to identify potential risk factors associated with low birth weight early in the pregnancy so that appropriate interventions can be made if necessary. Education programs aimed at informing both healthcare providers and mothers about how they can prevent low birth weights are also needed across various cultures/ethnicities/socioeconomic backgrounds so that all expectant mothers have access to this information regardless of where they live or their economic status. By following these preventative measures we can help reduce the prevalence of low birth weights among newborns thus improving infant mortality rates around the world.