The lower your baby’s weight the greater their risk of complications. Low birth weight has higher risk of developmental difficulties, health complications, and premature death than babies born at normal weight. Families of children with very low birth weight experience more distress and burden. Especially in cases of prematurity, neonatal medical complications, and long hospitalization. Which leads more symptoms of depression on family. The socio-economic differences in birth weight are associated by maternal lifestyle, like alcohol intake, exposure to smoking impact toward low birth weight. Beside that mothers at lower socioeconomic levels, characterized by less education, inadequate care during pregnancy, unemployment and smoking leads adverse birth outcomes. There is a strong need for an ongoing care and have access to improved health, prenatal care and healthier lifestyle before and during pregnancy.
Some minority populations (African American, native American), diverse cultures and low economic levels of woman are at greater risks for poor birth outcomes. The percentage of low birth weight for non-Hispanic black or African American nearly double that of non-Hispanic whites (13.6% vs 7.0%). Other populations like Puerto Ricans (9.7%), Filipinos (8.6%), Japanese (7.6%) and American Indians (7.2%).
Texas Medicaid and children health insurance program (CHIP), provide health coverage for low income families. Medicaid and CHIP: help and cover medical expenses for children. Is low cost or free health coverage for children without health insurance. Children Medicaid: covers services needed to keep kids’ health for age under 18, from families with little or no money. Medicaid: available to adults who are caring for child, programs offer low-cost medical health care services, including community- based services and support. [CHIP PROCESSING CENTER, TEXAS HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES]. www.yourtexasbenefits.com.
Helping families and NICU support groups. Premise Care. Adoption
services Inc. Vince@adoption service.com
Acevedo. G. (2005). The differential effects of foreign-born status. American public health association.
Chang. J. (2016). Changes in socio-economic inequality of LBW and macrosomes in Shaanxi province of
north west china, 2010-2013. A cross-sectional study.
Kelaher. M. (2002). Difference in LBW among documented and undocumented foreign-born and US
Effect of extremely low birth weight babies on family and community
Having a low birth child comes with a lot of mental pressure to parents and families. This is because families feel they have lost what would have been a healthy member. Low weight babies come with a lot of burden to families. Sometimes parents must take unpaid off and leave from work to take care for their loved ones. This leads to lose of income which impacts on the family’s ability to afford basic needs. Again, it comes in with increased debt as the cost of treatment is high, (Lakshmanan et al, 2017). Low birth weight babies have increased risk of contracting other diseases as their bodies immune system is weak. Most of the babies end up readmitted in hospital again thus creating more financial worries and burden. It does also come with social isolation in some cultures as its associated with bad omen.
Besides the financial and social effects, low birth weight has long term health effects. These babies suffer delayed milestones which affects their intellectual, mental and physical growth. Some end up becoming a burden to their families because despite reaching adulthood they must be cared for like small children.
Ethnic disparities have direct impact on low birth weight babies. This is associated with socio economic factors which directly or indirectly contribute to families having low birthweight babies.
Support services for preterm infants and their families
We have several organizations which advance welfare of preterm babies. One is the Grahams foundation. This organization does support, inform and offer guidance to families of premature babies. This is achieved through collaboration with communities and parents to improve wellbeing of the babies and their families. (Adopted from Graham foundation webpage)
A. Lakshmanan, M. Agni, T. Lieu, E. Fleegler, M. Kipke, P.S Friedlich, M.C McCormick and M.B. Belfort,The impact of preterm birth <37 weeks on parents and families. A cross-sectional study in the 2 years after discharge from the neonatal intensive care unit. Health and Quality of Life Outcomesvolume15, Article number: 38 (2017) Retrieved on July 28, 2020 from https://hqlo.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12955-017-0602-3
Graham foundation. Fighting for premature babies. Retrieved on July 28, 2020, from https://grahamsfoundation.org/