Funding to help mothers at risk of having low birth weight babies

University of Wolverhampton lecturers have secured £18,000 for a training programme aimed at reducing the incidence of low birth weight babies in Walsall.
Low birth weight is defined by the World Health Organisation as a birth weight less than 2500g and accounts for around 7 per cent of live births. However in Walsall this figure is much higher, at 11.6 per cent.
The University’s School of Health has obtained the funding from Walsall Teaching Primary Care Trust to deliver staff training for up to 300 health professionals and support workers, who care for mothers in Walsall who are at risk of having a low birth weight baby. These include doctors, midwives, health visitors, dieticians, and community outreach and Sure Start staff, health promotion workers and substance and drug misuse specialists.
Hilary Lumsden, Senior Lecturer in Neonatal Care, says: “This is an exciting opportunity for all people that can make a contribution to reducing the risk of mothers having low birth weight babies to share learning, and develop strategies for working together to improve pregnancy outcomes by effectively using the existing resources in the community.”
The training is due to start this month (January) and aims to build capacity and confidence for health professionals to positively intervene when working with a diverse client group to reduce the risk of low birth weight babies. It aims to share experience between health workers and work together to support and advise at-risk mothers.
The major causes of low birth weight are smoking, poor nutrition in pregnancy and is more common among women from disadvantaged backgrounds. Low birth weight babies are at increased risk of death, severe lung and other long-term health difficulties, including deficits in growth, diabetes and heart disease.

Further information

For more information, contact Vickie Woodward in the Press Office on 01902 322736 or 07973 335112.

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