Risk FactorsRISK FACTORS: Any baby born prematurely is more likely to be very small. However,
other factors that can contribute to the risk of VLBW include^1^:
[[br]]- Race: African-American babies are twice as likely as Caucasian to be VLBW.
[[br]]- Age: Teen mothers (especially if <15 years old) have a much higher risk of having
[[br]]- Multiple birth babies are at increased risk of being VLBW because they often are
premature. More than 50% of twins and other multiple gestations are VLBW.
[[br]]-Maternal health: Women exposed to drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes during pregnancy
are more likely to have LBW or VLBW babies. Mothers of lower socioeconomic
status are also more likely to have poorer pregnancy nutrition, inadequate prenatal
care, and complications of pregnancy. All are factors that can contribute to VLBW.^1^
Risk factors for low birth weight include^2^:
[[br]]- Lack of weight gain
[[br]]- Preterm births
[[br]]- Maternal chronic disease, such as hypertension
[[br]]- Maternal obstetric family history, such as having been born low birth weight themselves
[[br]]- Multiple gestation (e.g. twins)
[[br]]- Low pre-pregnancy weight
[[br]]- Short intervals between pregnancies
[[br]]- Previous pregnancy resulting in a low birth weight infant
[[br]]- Tobacco or alcohol use during pregnancy
[[br]]- Exposure to air pollution and drinking water contaminated with lead
[[br]]- Domestic violence or abuse
1. Very Low and Extremely Low Birthweight Infants. Intensive Care Nursery House Staff Manual. UCSF Children's Hospital. 2004. [https://www.ucsfbenioffchildrens.org/pdf/manuals/20_VLBW_ELBW.pdf]. Accessed August 22, 2018.
2. Health Effects Low Birthweight and the Environment - CDC Tracking Network. [http://ephtracking.cdc.gov/showRbLBWGrowthRetardationEnv.action]. Accessed August 22, 2018.
Related Risk Factors Indicators: