Sunday, 15 December 2013

Pregnancy and Low Birth Weight - Causes and Risk Factors

Low birth weight is a condition of a baby who was born below the weight of gestational age due to several reasons, including, the baby was born too soon, were small for gestational age, the poor health of the mother, nutritional deficiency, certain diseases, etc. According to the statistic of the World health organization, globally, more than 20 million infants were born with low birth weight.
Causes and Risk Factors
1. Mother’s poor nutrition
According to the World health organization, Once pregnant, the mother’s nutrition and diet,
lifestyle, such as alcohol, tobacco or drug abusehave greatly affected the weight of the fetus. In most cases, it is caused by long-term maternal malnutrition,

2. sexual tramitting diseases during pregnancy
Certain sexual tramitting diseases can increase the risk of low birth weight of the newborn, including syphilis
2.1. Infectious diseases HIV
It is an disease caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) which can severe damaging the immune system that can lead to infection and inflammation as a result of weakened immune system in fighting against foreign invasion. Symptoms include acute infection, fever, swollen lymph nodes,etc. Your baby may be infected by the virus as a result of sharing blood supply with you or you can transmit the disease during childbirth.

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection caused by the spirochete bacteria Treponema pallidum. The disease is developed into your stages with no symptom in the first stage, rash in the palm, soles of the feet,, etc. in the second stage. In the latent (hidden) stage of syphilis, no symptoms, the disease is hidden but it can be transmitted through sexual activity. In the final stage, is also known as Tertiary Syphilis, the infectious person may experience symptoms of Heart, Eyes, Brain , Nervous system, etc. damages. According to the statistics, more than 6000 cases of syphilis are reported in the United States alone each year. It is a concern that you may transmit the disease to your baby during child birth.

2.3. Etc.

3. Low income family
Women who are low income earner may be suceptible to low birth weight baby as a result of nutritional deficiency according to the World health Organization.

4. Birth defects
Certain genetic birth defects may be result in low birth weight baby, including
a. Chromosomal abnormalities The diseases can be caused by genetic passing through from the parent or an error in cell division. Chromosomal abnormalities can be divided into two basic groups, numerical and structural anomalies.

b. Single gene defects
It is a result of single gene defect out of 40-60,000 genes presented in the human body leading to the leads to alternation of the DNA code as a result of an defect amino acid sequence in the proteins.

c. X-Chromosome abnormality
Women who carry the mutated genes of the X chromosome have 50% risk in giving birth to a X-link related birth defects. Types of disorder is depended to the degrees of expression of the mutation. In X chromosome abnormality, men are affected and women are carriers.

d. Multifactorial problems
It is a type of genes mutation involved many factors, including the environment in the causation of birth defection, including cleft lip or cleft palate, neural tube defects, etc.

e. Teratogenic problems
It is type of mutation gene abnormality caused by exposure to certain chemicals, radiation, alcohol, heavy chemicals, certain medication, etc.

f. Etc.

5. Chronic health problems
Certain chronic illness such as anemia, high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart, lung and kidney if left untreated or uncotrolled can affect the weight of the baby, including low birth weight due to nutritional deficiency.

6. Inadequate maternal weight gain
Women who don’t gain enough or gain too much weight during pregnancy increase their risk of having a low-birthweight baby (2, 6). According to the study of "Maternal prepregnant body mass index and weight gain related to low birth weight in South Carolina" Posted in the free library by Farlex researchers found that Eight percent of the very low birth weight (VLBW)rate in South Carolina can be attributed to inadequate weight gain in pregnancy. Approximately 19% of the state's VLBW rate can be attributed to either underweight or overweight BMI at conception.

7. Certain exposures and smoking
a. Expose to indoor air pollution, can increase the risk of low birth weight bady.
b.Women who smoke during pregnancy smoke are twice as likely to give birth to low-birth weight infants.
According to the study of "Air pollution combustion emissions: characterization of causative agents and mechanisms associated with cancer, reproductive, and cardiovascular effects." by Lewtas J., researchers found that Long-term epidemiologic studies have reported an increased risk of all causes of mortality, cardiopulmonary mortality, and lung cancer mortality associated with increasing exposures to air pollution. Adverse reproductive effects (e.g., risk for low birth weight) have also recently been reported in Eastern Europe and North America. Although there is substantial evidence that PAH or substituted PAH may be causative agents in cancer and reproductive effects, an increasing number of studies investigating cardiopulmonary and cardiovascular effects are investigating these and other potential causative agents from air pollution combustion sources.

8. Etc. 

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