2.5.2  Assess birth weight and gestational age

If you are attending delivery or a baby is brought to you within seven days of birth, you must assess for birth weight and gestational age. You can do this in the following way:


You should ask the mother about the gestational age; that is, the duration of the pregnancy in weeks when the baby was born. Use the mother’s word or recollection of the time of her last normal menstrual period (LNMP) if she can remember this, to estimate gestational age. If this is not possible you should use the baby’s weight to do the classification.

Then weigh the baby; if you do not have the birth weight (weight taken within 24 hrs of birth), the weight taken in the first seven days of life may be used for the classification of birth weight.


There are three possible classifications:

  • Very low birth weight and/or very preterm
  • Low birth weight and/or preterm
  • Normal weight and/or term.

2.5.1  Characteristics of premature babies

2.5.3  Treatment for low birth weight babies