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Low-Birth-Weight Infants and Preterm Births

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Discuss disparities related to ethnic and cultural groups relative to low-birth-weight infants and preterm births. Describe the impact of extremely low-birth-weight babies on family and society (short and long term, including economic considerations, ongoing care considerations, and co morbidities associated with prematurity). Discuss whether you feel that support services and systems in your community for preterm infants and their families adequately address their needs or not. Explain your answer. Respond to other learners' posts in a manner that initiates or contributes to discussion.

According to the World Health Organization, a LBW infant is one born weighing <2500 g (5). Preterm infants are those born at <37 wk from the first day of the last menstrual period, regardless of birth weight, whereas growth-restricted infants are those born weighing less than the 10th percentile of birth weight–for–gestational age, regardless of whether that weight is <2500 g Thus, it is possible for both preterm and growth-restricted infants to weigh >2500 g. Low birth weight is a public health problem in many countries; globally an estimated 15 per cent of births result in low-birthweight babies. Those who survive, have impaired immune function and increased risk of disease; they are likely to remain undernourished, with reduced muscle strength, throughout their lives, and to suffer a higher incidence of diabetes and heart disease. Children born underweight also tend to have cognitive disabilities and a lower IQ, affecting their performance in school and their job opportunities as adults.

Preterm is defined as babies born alive before 37 weeks of pregnancy are completed. There are sub-categories of preterm birth, based on gestational age: * extremely preterm

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