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.
Infants weighing less than 1,000 grams at birth are considered extremely-low-birth-weight (ELBW) infants (Premji, 2019). Most ELBW infants are born at 27 weeks or before. These infants are more susceptible to complications of premature birth, such as respiratory distress, infections, hypothermia, apnea, and fluid and electrolyte imbalances. ELBW infants are cared for in the NICU during the hospital stay and also require follow up care upon discharge from the hospital. Families of premature, ELBW infants are faced with a unique kind of stress and often experience a wide range of emotions. The ongoing care and financial burden can strain the marriage and impact family dynamics (Subramanian, Seo, Barton, & Montazami, 2014).
Low birth weight is the leading risk factor of infant mortality in the United States. Significant disparities in low birth weight exist in some minority populations and for women in low socioeconomic status. In particular, African Americans and Native Americans have high rates of preterm and low birth weight birth. According to the CDC (2019), “in 2018, the rate of preterm birth among African- American women (14%) was about 50 percent higher than the rate of preterm birth among white women (9%)” (para. 1).
The March of Dimes’ NICU Family Support Program offers excellent resources for families and the NICU staff to care for preterm babies. In addition to printed materials, the program utilizes digital materials, standardized parent curriculum, and NICU baby apps to improve education for parents and families of preterm babies, and the family experience and satisfaction (March of Dimes, n.d).
Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019). Preterm birth. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/maternalinfanthealth/pretermbirth.htm
March of Dimes. (n.d). NICU Family Support Program. Retrieved from https://www.marchofdimes.org/nicufamilysupport/nicu-family-support-program.aspx
Premji, S.S. (2019). Extremely-low-birth-weight (ELBW) infant. In C. Kenner & J. Lott (Eds.), Comprehensive neonatal nursing care: Fifth edition. (p.658). Retrieved from https://ebookcentral-proquest-com.lopes.idm.oclc.org/lib/gcu/reader.action?docID=1353392&ppg=157
Subramanian, KN. S., Seo, S.C., Barton, A. M., & Montazami, S. (2014). Extremely low birth weight infants. Retrieved from https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/979717-overview#a14
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