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There are multiple reasons that disparities exist among different ethnic and cultural groups. On the topic of low birth weight infants and preterm births, these disparities include unplanned teen pregnancies and lack of prenatal care amongst the welfare communities. The average age of teen pregnancies ranges from the age of 15 to 19 years. This age group is less likely to seek out early prenatal care due to a poor support system or life style difficulties. Other disparities that exist in the welfare communities are lack of education on unplanned pregnancies and lack of availability of follow up care for the pregnant moms.

Short-term effects of low birth weight include longer lengths of stay in the hospital and specialized follow-up care to closely monitor the infant’s progress. These effects require that the parent be compliant in follow-up care for the infant and greater cost on the health care system. Long-term effects may result in life time disabilities such as chronic lung problems, neurological and behavioral conditions. These conditions create overwhelming challenges for the parents to properly care for special needs of the newborn. These newborns require frequent hospital visits, expensive studies and tests, and, sometimes, extended lengths of stays in the neonatal units. There are other needs that need to be addressed with the parent or parents of special needs infants. These infants will likely fall behind the curve of growth and development mile stones. This will require extra support to help meet the learning needs of the child.

Torrance Memorial is an organization that takes pride in providing support groups and education for families of premature babies and the special challenges that are common with the birth condition.

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