NRS 434 Describe the effect of extremely low birth weight babies on the family and community

NRS 434 Describe the effect of extremely low birth weight babies on the family and community

NRS 434 Describe the effect of extremely low birth weight babies on the family and community

Low birth weight(LBW) babies have a weight of less than 2500g but extremely low birth weight babies (ELBW) have a birth weight of less than 1000g. The survival even in developed countries with sophisticated neonatal intensive care units is 68% when birth weight is <699g(Kanitkar, 1999). Women in developing countries and in poor communities are less likely to receive prenatal care and proper prenatal nutrition. Preterm birth is a significant contributor to racial disparities in infant mortality. African Americans have the highest infant mortality rate of any racial or ethnic group in the United States, and higher rates of preterm births explain more than half of the difference, relative to non-Hispanic white women(Taylor et al., 2019). Extremely premature infants are at high risk of complications such as intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH), retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), and chronic lung disease including bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD), which often result in mortality or long-term disabilities(Mowitz et al., 2022). Parents of ELBW babies can be faced with higher levels of parental distress, stress, depression and anxiety, greater family burden, and poorer family functioning(Treyvaud et al, 2014). ELBW can be related to prematurity, a delay or non-compliance in prenatal care, drug or medication abuse, or inadequate prenatal nutrition. Many of these reasons can bring about distress to not just the parents but to the entire family. A couple’s marital relationship can be heavily impacted as now most of the time is spent caring for a very acute baby. An ELBW infant will likely be in a NICU for some time which can separate families and disrupt a family’s normal function. The family’s economic status will most likely be affected as the infant will need a high level of medical care and may need specialized supplies and equipment. As the infant develops and grows ongoing care will be needed to assess for developmental and physical delays, proper nutrition, and overall health. The family may be faced with a child that does present with a neurological condition such as cerebral palsy that will require medical care and physical therapy for most of their life.

In Santa Barbara, CA there is a program called the Santa Barbara Opioid Safety Coalition which can help with treatment for pregnant and post-partum women using opioids.


Kanitkar M., Mrs (1999). EXTREMELY LOW BIRTH WEIGHT BABIES: (A report of two cases). Medical journal, Armed Forces India, 55(4), 364–366.

Mowitz, M. E., Gao, W., Sipsma, H., Zuckerman, P., Wong, H., Ayyagari, R., & Sarda, S. P. (2022). Burden of Comorbidities and Healthcare Resource Utilization Among Medicaid-Enrolled Extremely Premature Infants. Journal of health economics and outcomes research, 9(2), 147–155.

Taylor, J., Novoa, C., Hamm, K., & Phadke, S. (2019, May 2). Eliminating Racial Disparities in Maternal and Infant Mortality A Comprehensive Policy Blueprint. CAP. Retrieved June 7, 2023, from

Treyvaud, K., Lee, K. J., Doyle, L. W., & Anderson, P. J. (2014). Very preterm birth influences parental mental health and family outcomes seven years after birth. The Journal of pediatrics, 164(3), 515–521.

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Preterm birth/low birth weight baby are the birth that happened before 37 ended weeks of pregnancy and is one of

NRS 434 Describe the effect of extremely low birth weight babies on the family and community
NRS 434 Describe the effect of extremely low birth weight babies on the family and community

the number reasons of newborn deaths and the second prominent cause of deaths in children below five. The preterm babies have chances of an amplified risk of illness, disability and death. In the first weeks, the complications of premature birth may include: breathing problems, heart problems, brain problems, temperature control problems, gastrointestinal problems, blood problems, metabolism problems, immune system problems. Long-term complications include cerebral palsy, impaired cognitive skills, vision problem, hearing problems, dental problems, behavioral and psychological problems, chronic health issues. World Health Organization (WHO, 2016).

Bartleby Research. World Health Organization. (2016). retrieved from

It is very unfortunate that such services need to exist. However, it is a great thing that these women can get the resources that they need. It is so easy to judge a persons situation however the reality is that people come from all walks of life and we may never understand what provoked them to choose the path they’re on. After some research, I have found a similar resource in my community called Sally’s Place, located in Phoenix, AZ. This facility is a supportive housing program for women that are addicted to drugs and pregnant. They provide many resources during pregnancy as well as continued support for mom and baby after delivery and beyond. I am happy to learn that these services are offered for those in need.


Sally’s Place-Arizona’s Women’s Recovery Center’s%20Place%20is%20a%20supportive,opportunity%20to%20parent%20their%20newborn.

You bring up so many great points! Parents can definitely be faced with a lot more stress than usual with low birth weight babies. It can place a lot of stress especially on finances due to the long term care they will need. There is a program in Santa Barbara called Welcome Every Baby that is free and offered for postpartum moms for up to 3 months after delivery. It offers postpartum nurses to go to the home and do check ups or offer support or education for the parents.

Easland, T., Rehse, M. (2023). Welcome Every Baby. Santa Barbara County Education Office. Retrieved June 11, 2023 from

Maternal exposures to environmental hazards may result in abortion, fetal death, low-birth weight, prematurity, or congenital anomalies (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 2013; Stotland et al., 2014). These prenatal exposures have lifelong implications, contributing to later development of disease (Green & Marsit, 2015).

It is estimated that half of the 10 million children under 5 years old, who die every year in the world (1000 child deaths per hour) are in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Most of these children could have survived if they had access to basic services and to simple, inexpensive and easily implemented interventions.

The causes of high infant mortality rate (IMR) in SSA are well known. Some such as malaria disappeared from southern Europe only in the 1960s, while vaccine-preventable diseases (diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, polio or measles) disappeared later though not entirely. Children in underdeveloped countries are not decimated by exotic diseases but rather by common and frequent problems. Around 1.5 million children die from drinking unsafe water or the lack of access to water for personal hygiene and poor access to basic sanitation. This means that the improvement of some factors could reduce the IMR.


UNICEF. State of the World’s Children 2008. Child Survival. Executive Summary. New York: Dec, 2007. [Accessed on 11/12/2010]. Available from: [Google Scholar]