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What Causes Low Birth Weight?

What causes low birth weight?
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profile picture of Ashley S. Roman, MD
Updated
February 28, 2017
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A baby is considered to have low birth weight if he’s less than 5 pounds, 8 ounces. Being that small at birth increases a baby’s chance of having serious health problems or disabilities. Factors that can make you more likely to have a baby with low birth weight include health problems, like infection, cervical incompetence or issues with the uterus or placenta, and lifestyle choices, like smoking and drinking during pregnancy. A premature baby is more likely to have low birth weight, and one of the biggest risk factors for preterm birth is carrying multiples.

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.

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