DefinitionLow birthweight infants are those weighing less than 2,500 grams (about 5.5 pounds). The low birthweight rate is the number of live births under 2,500 grams divided by the total number of live births over the same time period.
NumeratorNumber of live born infants weighing under 2,500 grams.
DenominatorTotal number of live births.
Why Is This Important?Low birthweight increases the risk for infant mortality and morbidity. As birthweight decreases, the risk for death increases. Low birthweight infants who survive often require intensive care at birth, may develop chronic illnesses, and later may require special education services. Health care costs and length of hospital stay are higher for low birthweight infants.
Healthy People Objective: MICH-8.1, Low birth weight (LBW)U.S. Target: 7.8 percent
Other ObjectivesNew Mexico Community Health Status Indicator (CHSI)
New Mexico Early Learning Indicator
What Is Being Done?The Maternal Health Program collaborates with the UNM Maternal & Family Planning (M & FP) and Presbyterian Medical Group perinatologists to provide care to high risk, medically indigent women. These services are provided to patients free of charge through the High Risk Prenatal Care Fund (HRF) at the UNM Health Sciences Center in Albuquerque, UNM outreach clinics and Presbyterian hospitals and clinics throughout the State. UNM maintains the Physician Access Line for Service (PALS), providing statewide access to a perinatologist 24/7 for telephone consultations and to arrange transport for patients requiring intensive management at the university, including women in preterm labor. Additionally, UNM Telemedicine offers the High Risk Pregnancy direct patient evaluation, real-time fetal ultrasound analysis and counseling whereby remotely practicing physicians can access specialty services for patients.
This network of care and screening is designed to prevent low birthweight births through specialized care to the mother. These high risk providers are the most likely to anticipate and recognize preterm labor and other conditions where delivery at a tertiary care center is desirable and make appropriate transfers of care to them. Women in premature labor or with other pregnancy related complications may transfer out of the state if another tertiary care center is closer than Albuquerque. Albuquerque has the only two level one neonatal intensive care units in the state. Data on which facilities these women transfer to is not available.
Health Program InformationIn addition to the services received through the High Risk Fund described above, the MCH program utilizes the services of Families FIRST which is a case management program of the New Mexico Department of Health, Public Health Division. It is funded by Medicaid to provide perinatal case management to Medicaid eligible pregnant women and children 0-3 years old. The purpose of perinatal case management services is to provide a voluntary home visit to eligible clients, to establish a medical home, and to assist clients in gaining access to needed medical, social and educational services that are necessary to foster positive pregnancy outcomes and promote healthy infants and children in New Mexico. One of the goals of the Families First Program is to reduce low birthweight infants by providing the resources needed for good prenatal care and through smoking cessation and substance abuse programs.