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Extremely low birth weight baby

What is an Extremely low birth weight baby?

An Extremely low birth weight infant refers to the baby whose birth weight is less than 1000gm. Such infants are also the youngest of premature newborns who are born at 27 weeks’ gestational age or younger. They have huge risk of death, growth retardation and delayed neurodevelopment. But with much advancements made in neonatal technologies and widespread use of exogenous surfactant agents & maternal steroids, the survival rate of extremely low birth weight babies have improved. 

What are the causes of Extremely low birth weight babies?

The primary causes of Extremely low birth weight babies are:

  • Premature birth
  • Intrauterine growth restriction due to problems with placenta, maternal health & birth defects
  • However, there are certain risk factors that increase the chances of Extremely low birth weight babies, namely:

  • Age – Teen mothers have huge risk of ELBW
  • Multiple births
  • Infection during pregnancy
  • Women exposed to alcohol, drug abuse and tobacco smoking during pregnancy have greater chance of ELBW
  • Poor nutrition
  • Inadequate prenatal care
  • Complications of pregnancy
  • Being African- American
  • What are the symptoms of Extremely low birth weight babies?

    Extremely low birth weight babies look very small as compared to other babies with normal weight. Their head is bigger than rest of their body and often look extremely thin with less body fat. One can even see their blood vessels through their skin. 

    How can Extremely low birth weight babies be treated?

    Extremely low birth weight babies need extra care in the neonatal intensive care unit. They have temperature- controlled beds with special feeding through tubes. Other treatments are also given depending on the complications the baby is suffering from.