What is Low Birth Weight

Babies born under 2.5kg (5.5 pounds) are considered low birth weight (LBW) babies.

A healthy birth weight is very important. Babies born with a low birth weight are more likely to have health problems and slower development.
Babies may have low birth weight...

  1. if they are born too soon (before 37 weeks of pregnancy) or
  2. if they are small for their gestational age or
  3. if they are born too soon and are small for gestational age.

Low Birth Weight Changes Everything.

  • LBW babies can have life-long health problems
  • LBW is the main reason babies die in the first year of life
  • In Canada, approximately 6% of all births are LBW babies. The costs to care for the immediate needs of these babies, and to provide the long-term care and special attention that some will need throughout life are extremely high


Take the time to browse this web site to find out more facts about low birth weight, and how it can be prevented. You can also call the City of Ottawa Public Health Info Line (PHIL) at 613-580-6744 or your local health unit and talk to your health care provider. LBW is an issue for all members of our community!



The rates of low birth weight and preterm birth are virtually the same each year.
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© 2019 Ottawa Coalition for the Prevention of Low Birth Weight
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