SGA babies "usually have birthweights below the 10th percentile for
babies of the same gestational age. This means that they are smaller
than 90 percent of all other babies of the same gestational age."
("High Risk Newborn," University of Virginia:
) Many SGA babies are also "low birth weight" babies. (A LBW baby is
one that is born 2,500 grams (or less than 5 lbs. 8 oz.). ("Low Birth
Weight," March of Dimes:
http://www.marchofdimes.com/professionals/681_1153.asp ) And, indeed,
the problems SGA and LBW babies face are often the same.
According to a page on the Western Michigan University website,
"low-birth weight babies are more than twenty times as likely to die
in their first year of life versus a normal-weight baby. Low birth
weight and pre maturity also raise the probability of infant death,
blindness, deafness, mental retardation and cerebral palsy." ("Risks
to the Infant," http://homepages.wmich.edu/~t5valdez/Teenage%20Pregnancy.htm
More specifically, common problems in low birth weight babies include
heart murmurs (PDA), intestinal difficulties (NEC), eye problems that
may sometimes lead to blindness (ROP), difficulty maintaining body
temperature, breathing problems (Respiratory Distress Syndrome or RDS,
which, if the baby's lungs are sufficiently immature, may lead to
death), and brain bleeds, which sometimes lead to brain damage. For
more about all these conditions, please see the following March of
Dimes article: "Low Birth Weight,"
Other problems specific to SGA babies include: meconium aspiration
(inhalation of the first stools passed in utero), low blood sugar, and
polycythemia (too many red blood cells). ("High Risk Newborn,"
University of Virginia:
It should be noted, again, that not all SGA babies will experience
these problems. It depends very much on the baby's gestational age at
birth, and other medical difficulties the mother and baby may
I have no idea, of course, why you might be asking about SGA babies,
but if perchance it's because you or someone you know has a SGA baby,
I want to offer a personal word of encouragement. My daughter was born
severely premature, weighing a little over 1 lb. The doctors were very
doom and gloom and told me she would almost certainly die. But she did
not. Today, she's a healthy child.
"low birth weight" complications
"small for gestational age"