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

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

Re: Topic 1 DQ 1

Low birth weight represents a public health issue. According to the World Health Organization, 2018, any child born with a weight less than 2.5 kg is considered a low birth weight. Low birth weight is mostly associated with socioeconomic conditions such as poverty, lack of prenatal care, malnutrition. Another significant factor for low birth weight is health behaviors during pregnancy, women who smoke and drink alcohol can have premature babies. Low birth weight (LBW)can affect the dynamic of families due to increased risk of chronic illnesses such as asthma and hypertension which prone to recurrent hospitalizations as well as neurodevelopmental complications (Lakshmanan et al 2017). There are potential risks of cognitive deficits, motor delays, cerebral palsy, and other behavior and psychological problem as well as neonatal mortality associated with low birth babies (Anil et al., 2020).

Sims et al., 2008, health disparity contributes significantly to LBW, African Americans and Latinos have the higher rate of low-birth-weight babies. As noted, those minority groups live in harsh economic environments that contribute to unfavorable health conditions brought on by environmental stressors and the lack of access to quality healthcare (Sims et al., 2008). Low birth weight is recognized as of the primary factors contributing to racial/ethnic disparities as black babies are twice as likely as white babies to be born at low birth weight.

In my community, there are programs available to help families in needs. Danbury’s Promise for Children Partnership in conjunction the United Way of Western Connecticut provides many services like childcare, clothing, counseling, and food etc. And Family & Children’s Aid which a community-based nonprofit organization offering innovative and responsive program and services to heal and support children and families in crisis.


Anil, K.C., Basel, P.L., Singh, S (2020). Low birth weight and its associated risk factors: Health facility-based case-control study. PLOS ONE 15(6): e0234907. doi: 10.1371/journal. pone0234907

Danbury’s Promise for Children Partnership.

Lakshmanan, A., Agni, M., Lieu, T., Fleegler, E., Kipke, M., Friedlich, P.S., McCormick, M.C., & Belfort, M.B. (2017). The impact of preterm birth < 37 weeks on parents and families: A cross-sectional study in the 2 years after discharge from the neonatal intensive care unit. Health and Quality of Life Outcomes 15(38).

Moreira, A. L.M., Moreira de Sousa, P.R., & Sarno, F (2018). Low birth weight and its associated factors. Einstein (Sao Paulo)16(4): eAO4251. doi:10.3144/Einstein journal/2018AO4251

Sims, M., Sims, T.L., & Bruce, M.A. (2008). Race, ethnicity, concentrated poverty, and low birth weight disparities. Journal National Black Nurses Association, 19(1): 12-18.


Describe the effect of extremely low birth weight babies on the family and community. Consider short-term and long-term impacts, socioeconomic implications, the need for ongoing care, and comorbidities associated with prematurity. Explain how disparities relative to ethnic and cultural groups may contribute to low birth weight babies. Identify one support service within your community to assist with preterm infants and their families and explain how the service adequately addresses the needs of the community, or a population in your community. Provide the link to the resource in your post.

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

Topic 1 DQ 1

Extremely-low-birth-weight (ELBW) newborns are defined as those born weighing less than 1000g (Kenner & Scott, 2013). There are many complications that can arise with both the newborn and the family. Some immediate effects include making immediate decisions regarding the ELBW infant’s resuscitation efforts, and to what extent. Clinicians should make certain to involve parents in decision making so they are able to make informed decisions. Although “the survival rate for ELBW has improved” (Doyle, Roberts, Anderson, & Victorian Infant Collaborative Study Group, 2011; Kilbride, 2004), it is still a very difficult decision that needs to be made by parents while considering both short and long tern impacts on the newborn and the family.

Some short and long term in facts will include: medical issues for the infant, stress on family, and financial issues. Medical issues may arise that are immediate such as: issues with thermoregulation, Respiratory Distress Syndrome, Hyperbilirubinemia, Patent Ductus Arteriosus, Fluid and Electrolyte Imbalances, and complicated nutritional demands ((Kenner & Scott, 2013). Some longer-term effect on the infant as they grow may include an increased risk of developing chronic lung disease, necrotizing enterocolitis, neurodevelopment issues, and vision problems (Kenner & Scott, 2013). These long-term effects will continue throughout the life of the ELBW individual and the family.

Disparities exist among cultures for example, According to March of Dimes website, non-Hispanic black infants have significantly higher rates of low birthweight, preterm birth and infant mortality compared to non-Hispanic white and Hispanic infants (March of Dimes, 2015). Some Social Determinants of Health may play significant role in minority populations that lead to health disparities involving maternal prenatal care and resources available to this vulnerable population.

A community resource available here, in South Florida is called the Healthy Start Coalition, Inc. “Martin County Healthy Start Coalition is a non-profit 501(c)3 that offers support and education to pregnant women, infants, and their families. All of our services are confidential, free of charge, and not income-based.” (MChealthystart, n.d.) They also so have a satellite office located in area with a high minority population, who often lack access to health care. The link is

Doyle, L. W., Roberts, G., Anderson, P. J., & Victorian Infant Collaborative Study Group.

(2011). Changing long-term outcomes for infants 500– 999 g birth weight in Victoria,

1979– 2005. Archives of Disease in Childhood, Fetal and Neonatal Edition, 96 , F443– F447.

Kenner, C., & Lott, J. (Eds.). (2013). Comprehensive neonatal nursing care : Fifth edition.

ProQuest Ebook Central

March Of Dimes Cultural and Ethnic Disparities (2015, February, 27). Retrieved August 3,

2020 from

Re: Topic 1 DQ 1
African American women are twice as likely to have adverse birth outcomes, including low-birth-weight infants and infants born prematurely (Harper-Hanigan, et al., 2017). In the under-served communities in which they may live, 80% of these women have experienced some sort of adverse birth outcome, whether for themselves or as a community member (Harper-Hanigan, et al., 2017). A sampling of these women, when participating in a survey, explain that these events impact both the immediate family and the community with stressors including financial strain, depression, and community grief (Harper-Hanigan, et al., 2017). Long-term impacts include the active avoidance of subsequent, or currently living, children out of fear of losing them, too (Harper-Hanigan, et al., 2017). This, in turn, causes the entire community to feel “lost”, and to question its own belief system (Harper-Hanigan, et al., 2017).Regarding the causes of these adverse outcomes, it has emerged that the most prevalent issues are lack of knowledge, lack of support, and alcohol and drug abuse (Harper-Hanigan, et al., 2017). Some women simply believe it is wrong to “ask for help” (Harper-Hanigan, et al., 2017). However, 60% of the respondents to this survey admitted that they were unsure as to how adverse birth outcomes affected their community, showing a wide knowledge gap about how this problem affects the larger population (Harper-Hanigan, et al., 2017). There is also a propensity to pretend the event never happened, and to “move on” (Harper-Hanigan, et al., 2017). This is especially true in women who are not active participants in the community (Harper-Hanigan, et al., 2017).

There are several resources within communities that are available to assist pregnant women (Harper-Hanigan, et al., 2017). However, only 50% of women surveyed knew about WIC, the federal Women Infants and Children program (Harper-Hanigan, et al., 2017). None of the pregnant women surveyed could name a second resource (Harper-Hanigan, et al., 2017). Many women, who were aware of resources, do not avail themselves of these programs because of lack of knowledge, lack of transportation, or personal pride (Harper-Hanigan, et al., 2017). In my community, Passaic Family Head Start is one such organization that supports low-income families and families with preterm infants (Learn More, 2011). Their website is Their program offers parenting workshops and training, nutritional meals, health services, and disability and special needs services (Learn More, 2011).

Access to resources for ongoing health services is of paramount importance for parents of low-birth-weight and premature infants. This is because there is a myriad of comorbidities associated with these children (Kenner & Loft, 2013). The most of common are associated with the respiratory system (Kenner & Loft, 2013) and include: Respiratory Distress Syndrome (RDS), Transient Tachypnea of the Newborn (TTN), pneumonia, and pneumothorax and air leaks (Kenner & Loft, 2013). Other, additional concerns, include Intraventricular Hemorrhage (IVH), necrotizing enterocolitis, and Retinopathy of Prematurity associated with the need for supplemental oxygen (Kenner & Loft, 2013).

Many African American communities are struggling with poverty, illicit drug use, obesity, absentee fathers, sexually transmitted diseases, and heart disease (Harper-Hanigan, et al., 2017). The Healthy People 2020 initiative is working to address these issues by focusing on the well-being of women, and its initiatives are working to lower the rate of preterm birth, and other adverse outcomes (Green, 2018).


Green, S.Z. (2018). Health Assessment of the Infant. In Grand Canyon University (Ed). Health Assessment: Foundations for Effective Practice.

Harper-Hanigan, K., Ross, G., Sims, T., Trotter, K., & Turman, J. (2017). Women’s Perspectives of Needs Surrounding Adverse Birth Outcomes: A Qualitative Assessment of the Neighborhood Impact of Adverse Birth Outcomes. Maternal & Child Health Journal, 21(12), 2219–2228.

Kenner, C., & Lott, J. (Eds.). (2013). Comprehensive neonatal nursing care. Fifth edition. ProQuest Ebook Central

Learn More. (2011). Retrieved August 3, 2020, from

Re: Topic 1 DQ 1
According to Kenner & Lott (2013), birth weight of less than 2.2lbs, or 1000 grams, is considered an extremely low birth weight. This can occur when an infant is born either to small, too early, or both. There are many different reasons which may contribute to this occurring. They can include smoking during pregnancy, consuming alcohol, illicit drug use, lack of weight gain, giving birth to an infant when you are younger than 15 years or older than 35 years, social and economic factors, previous preterm birth, and exposure to environmental risk factors such as air pollution and water contamination with lead (CDC, 2020). This creates a cascade of parental emotions, fears, anxiety, stress, and uncertainty. Their focus, thoughts, and decisions are ever-changing depending on the current health status of their infant at that given time. They may be faced with having to make difficult decisions regarding resuscitation, having difficulty handling the uncertainty of their infant’s survival rate, or trying to cope with the grief over the death of their infant. Nonetheless, nurses must be cognizant of these complex issues and develop an individualized plan of care that provides effective communication, support, and teaching.Compared to infants of normal weight, the short- and long-term effects of extremely low birth weight places them at an increased risk for many health problems. They are more susceptible to all the possible complications of premature birth because of their vulnerable state of development (Kenner & Lott, 2013). The short-term effects can occur in the first few days of birth where the infant becomes sick or develops an infection. They may experience problems with thermoregulation, respiratory distress syndrome, hyperbilirubinemia, apnea of prematurity, hypotension, fluid and electrolyte imbalances, anemia, and gastroesophageal reflux (Kenner & Lott, 2013). While long-term effects can cause chronic lung disease, enterocolitis, retinopathy of prematurity, and intellectual, delayed motor and social disabilities (Kenner & Lott, 2013).

Additionally, social, and economic implications need to be considered and addressed as well. These disparities can be related to one’s race, nationality, religion, and cultural background. According to a study conducted by Ratnasiri et al. 2018, there were marked disparities in the prevalence of low birth weight infants born to women of different racial and ethnic groups. Hispanic and African American women had a much higher prevalence of low birth weight infants compared to White women. This impact consists of low educational level, low income and living in poverty-stricken communities, stress, domestic violence, or other forms of abuse, and being unmarried. Therefore, nurses should incorporate and utilize their culturally competent skills to understand the various behaviors of parents, and develop a plan of care which engages the family to participate collaboratively in deciding the appropriate family-centered care approach to meet their needs.

A community support service available in New Jersey is The Children’s Home Society of New Jersey. This organization provides maternal and child health programs designed to educate and increase awareness among all women of all ages, including their families. Additionally, the program addresses critically needed services and cultural sensitivities for Latino and African America women. They provide women with the knowledge of how to access holistic care for their minds and bodies. A lifestyle approach which focuses and aims to reduce stress for a healthy pregnancy. For further information regarding this organization, their link is


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020, July 27). CDC Works 24/7. Retrieved from

Kenner, C., & Lott, J. (Eds.). (2013). Comprehensive neonatal nursing care: Fifth edition. ProQuest Ebook Central. Retrieved from

Ratnasiri, A.W.G., Parry, S.S., Arief, V.N., DeLacy, I. H., Halliday, L. A., DiLibero, R. J., Basford, K. E. (2018). Recent trends, risk factors, and disparities in low birth weight in California, 2005–2014: A retrospective study. Maternal Health, Neonatal and Perinatal Journal, 4(15), 1-13. Retrieved from


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