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Why Are Some Babies Born With Low Weight?

All mothers wish for a healthy and happy baby at the end of their pregnancy. But this is not always the case. In spite of the best care from the mother's side, some babies are still born with a low birth weight. A low birth weight baby is characterised by birth weight less than 2500 grams.

While most babies go on to lead a healthy life, low birth weight raises the chances of breathing problems or immunity problems in the first few weeks of their lives. Some babies may be unable to suckle their mothers' breasts properly.

The problems that come with low birth weight babies need to be treated carefully and one has to keep an eye on their growth to make sure that they are doing fine. Low birth weight babies can be much more fragile and ill-equipped to deal with the new environment around them.

It is best to try and make sure that your baby is within the normal weight limit to prevent future complications and unnecessary worry.

While there are things that may be out of control, you can certainly make sure that the ones you can control are dealt with. Today, we shall discuss some of the things that can lead to a low birth weight baby. Read on for more information.

Premature Birth Of Babies

A prematurely born baby will tend to be on the lower side when the weight is concerned. Had the baby been able to spend the correct amount of time in the mother's womb, he/she would have been born with a healthy weight. As far as a premature baby is concerned, he/she may have more pressing issues than just low weight. The baby may have to spend a prolonged time in the hospital to recover. But the good news is that with proper care and medical treatment, such babies can gain the required weight eventually.

Low Oxygen Supply

When in the womb, if the baby receives less oxygen than what is required, it may lead to low birth weight. Oxygen is essential to ensure that the baby grows and matures properly within the womb. The reasons for the low oxygen supply might be many. Some of these include improper placental position and illness of the mother.


Preeclampsia is a condition that develops during pregnancy and can be potentially fatal to the mother, the baby or both. The blood pressure in such cases is too high. The high blood pressure may restrict the blood flow to the baby. This, in turn, can restrict the normal supply of oxygen and nutrition to the baby causing a low birth weight when the baby is born.

Cigarette Smoke

Cigarette smoking or any kind of smoking for that matter will lead to low birth weight in a baby. The harmful chemicals in the smoke like nicotine, can cause a lot of bad effects on the body. The blood vessels in the body get constricted in reaction to these chemicals. This will block the supply of adequate amount of oxygen and other nutrients to the baby. You should know that it is not just the smoking mother but anyone who smokes in the vicinity of the pregnant mother is also responsible for the adverse effects on the baby. Passive smoking is just as bad as direct smoking.

Alcohol Consumption

The consumption of alcohol has been directly linked to low birth weight in babies. Nondrinkers tend to have babies that are within the normal weight indexes when compared to light drinkers. Heavy drinkers make their babies stand the risk of being born with fetal alcohol syndrome that can lead to lifelong problems for the baby.

Usage Of Drugs

Drug use during pregnancy will also lead to premature birth or baby with low birth weight. Cocaine and marijuana are some of the illegal drugs that are to be avoided in one's life; pregnancy is no exception. The baby growing in the womb can have other ill effects too, as a result of drug use like damage to the cardiovascular system and the digestive system. Some prescription drugs can also cause low birth weight and other abnormalities. It is always best to let your doctor know if you are on medications even if it is just herbal.


Fibroids are compact tumours found in the uterus. They can be painful and can cause you some discomfort but they are usually pretty harmless. But when you are pregnant, these lumps in the uterus can take up space that is essential for your baby, leading to a low birth weight of the baby. Uterine fibroids usually resolve by themselves. But if they are too big, they may need to be surgically removed.

Congenital Abnormalities

Some babies may have be born with chromosomal abnormalities. Turner's syndrome and Down's syndrome are some of these conditions. These conditions may also be responsible for the low birth weight in newborns. These babies may find it difficult to gain weight later in life too.

The Mother Catching A Viral Infection

When the foetus is growing in the mother's womb, it is important that the mother stays healthy through the pregnancy. Even a mild infection can cause a lot of problems for the baby inside you. Viral infections of the carrying mother can cause low birth weight of the child. It can also lead to premature birth. Chickenpox, measles, mumps and the simple flu can all lead to low birth weight in babies.

Multiple Pregnancies

If you are to have twins or multiple babies, chances are that some or all of them might have low weights at birth. This may be because the babies compete for the oxygen, nutrients, space and other resources in the womb. It is also highly possible that in addition to being low weight, multiples can also be born prematurely.

Not Enough Nutrition

If the mother does not consume enough food or food that is nutritious, she may risk having a baby that is low weight and unhealthy. Good nutrition is essential for the baby's growth and development, especially food rich in iron.


A woman who is constantly stressed through her pregnancy may give birth to a baby with low birth weight. Work situations, family and finance are all possible causes for stress. But it is important to keep away from constant stress to ensure the well-being of your baby.

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