Infants born with low birth weight among American Indian/Alaska Native populations
Babies that weigh less than 5 lbs 8 oz (2500 grams) at birth are considered to have low birth weight. These babies have a greater risk of serious health problems or even death. Our goal is to give all babies a healthy start. Babies born at a healthy weight supports this goal.
In 2015, about 9.3% of American Indian/Alaska Native babies had a low birth weight.
There are two main reasons for a baby having low birth weight – a mother’s health prior to or during pregnancy and being born early. We are working on both of these issues.
Addressing maternal and infant health disparities
We are collaborating with the American Indian Health Commission so tribes can receive technical assistance on implementing strategies from the Tribal Maternal-Infant Health Strategic Plan.
Partnering with healthcare providers
We develop and maintain tools for healthcare providers to use to help pregnant women quit smoking and maintain a healthy weight.
Referrals to support programs
We collaborate with Health Care Authority to promote the First Steps Maternity Support Services program for low-income women. We also collaborate with the Department of Early Learning to support home visiting programs to help women have healthy pregnancies.
Safe Deliveries Roadmap Project
We are partnering with the American Indian Health Commission and the Washington State Hospital Association to work with Tribal Health Centers on adopting standards of care for optimal preconception health.
SNAP-Ed Health Outcomes Project
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program - Education (SNAP-Ed) is a program for people eligible for SNAP benefits (otherwise known as Food Stamps). This new project helps SNAP-eligible pregnant women gain the right amount of weight during pregnancy.
Smoking is a risk factor for low birth weight. We are supporting the American Indian Health Commission on the implementation of the Pulling Together for Wellness Framework with tribal communities focusing on commercial tobacco prevention and control.
Wait One Year campaign
Being born early (preterm) is a risk factor for low birth weight. Women who already had a preterm birth are at risk of having another one. This effort encourages women who have already had a preterm birth to wait at least one year before having another baby, quit smoking, and take folic acid.
Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Nutrition Program
WIC is a nutrition program for pregnant women, new and breastfeeding moms, and children under 5. WIC provides monthly checks for healthy food, health screenings and referrals, nutrition education, and breastfeeding support. Participating in WIC is associated with positive birth outcomes. We are collaborating with the American Indian Health Commission, tribes and Urban Indian health organizations to identify barriers and challenges for tribes to provide WIC services.
Ask yourself if you can do more to improve your health. Even if you do not plan to get pregnant, you may feel better. If you do get pregnant, then you improve the chances that you will have a healthy baby. For more information about making positive changes for your health, visit our website.
Women pregnant for the first time
You can improve the chances that you will have a healthy baby.
- See a healthcare provider for prenatal care as soon as you know you are pregnant. Find out if you’re eligible for the Maternity Support Services program by calling 1-800-322-2588.
- Find out if you’re eligible for the WIC Nutrition program by calling the Family Health Hotline at 1-800-322-2588 or visiting this website .
- Find out how much weight you should gain while pregnant. For more information, download this flier .
- Stop smoking and try not to be around people who are smoking. This includes e-cigarettes and vaping devices. If you need help quitting smoking, call the Washington State Quitline at 1-800-784-8669 or visit our website . For more information about e-cigarettes and vaping devices visit our website .
Women who have already had a preterm birth
Babies born early are more likely to have a low birth weight. If you had a preterm birth, your chances of having another one are higher. This means that you need to take special care of yourself.
- Wait one year before trying to get pregnant again. Having at least one year between pregnancies can reduce the chance of having another preterm birth. In the meantime, use a reliable birth control method. For more information, visit our website .
- Take folic acid every day.
- Treat and prevent gum disease.
- Find healthy ways to reduce stress in your life.
- Stop smoking and try not to be around people who are smoking. This includes e-cigarettes and vaping devices. If you need help quitting smoking, call the Washington State Quitline at 1-800-784-8669 or visit our website . For more information about e-cigarettes or vaping devices, visit our website .