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. E

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In the United States, nearly 500,000 infants, or 11.7% of all live births, are born preterm (<37 weeks’ gestation) each year. Preterm birth and the sometimes associated prolonged newborn hospitalization are great family stressors, and can lead to subsequent family dysfunction.

All preterm infants are at risk for re-hospitalization, as well as medical and neurodevelopmental complications, even moderate to late preterm infants (born at 32 to <37 weeks’ gestation) . A particularly challenged sub-group is very low birth weight (VLBW) infants or those born < 1500 g. More than 90% of VLBW infants are discharged home from the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). The burden of continued health and developmental problems faced by these infants is substantial. For example, compared with normal birth weight children, VLBW children face a 2–3 fold greater risk for visual and hearing impairment, speech delays and attention disorders; may have poor feeding and growth, respiratory complications, and face neurocognitive difficulties.

Families of children with birth weights less than 750 g experience more long-term adversity than families of full-term children. Family sequelae are also present for children with very low birth weight at high neonatal medical risk. Ongoing child health and behavior problems may be the major source of these sequelae, and sociodemographic status is an important consideration in identifying family adversity. Although many families appear unaffected, results support the need to monitor family outcomes and develop interventions for both the child and family.

Filipino, Asian Indian and non-Hispanic black women had the highest incidences of low birth weight, from 6.8 to 7.6 percent of births. Chinese, Korean and non-Hispanic white women had the lowest incidences, from 3.4 to 3.7 percent of births. Considering the effect of birthplace within racial and ethnic groups, Asian women born in East Asia, non-Hispanic black women from Sub-Saharan Africa, and non-Hispanic white women from other developed countries all had lower incidences of low birth weight than women of those racial and ethnic groups born in the U.S.

Being a teen mother (especially younger than 15) or being older than 35 makes you more likely than other women to have a low-birthweight baby. In the United States, black women are more likely than others to have a low-birthweight baby. The rates of babies born with low birthweight each year among different ethnic groups are:

  • About 1 in 7 black babies (about 13 percent)
  • About 1 in 12 Asian babies (about 8 percent)
  • About 1 in 13 American Indian/Alaska Native babies (about 7 percent)
  • About 1 in 14 Hispanic babies (about 7 percent)
  • About 1 in 14 white babies (about 7 percent)

support services in my community is Miracle Babies it supports NICU families by providing needs-based financial assistance to low-income families through our Family Assistance Program by helping to address some of the financial barriers that keep parents away from their new baby. There is a link of these website  http://www.miraclebabies.org                

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