Babies are weighed within the first few hours after birth. The weight is compared with the baby's gestational age and recorded in the medical record. A birthweight less than 5 pounds, 8 ounces is diagnosed as low birthweight. Babies weighing less than 3 pounds, 5 ounces at birth are considered very low birthweight.
The average newborn weighs about 7.6 pounds
About 7.6 percent of all newborns in the United States have low birthweight.
The overall rate of these very small babies is increasing, primarily because of the increase in multiple birth babies, who tend to be born earlier and weigh less. More than half of multiple birth babies have low birthweight.
How Boston Children's Hospital approaches very low birthweight
The Infant Follow-Up Program is designed for infants born very prematurely, who weigh less than 3.3 lbs and are at high risk for development and motor delays and other problems resulting from prematurity. Our program follows children from the time of discharge until they reach age 3 to 4.
The multi-disciplinary Infant Follow-Up team includes pediatricians, neonatologists, pediatric psychologists, physical therapists, social workers and if needed, pediatric neurologists.