NEC is one of the conditions affecting babies with very low birth weight (VLBW).
To prevent this from occurring, premature babies are evaluated individually for this risk and mother's breast milk is strongly advocated for feeding. The premature baby at risk for NEC is usually fed with a slow and gradual increase in milk quantity, and will be watched very closely to see that the baby tolerates the milk feeds.
No specific cause of NEC is known. However, several sub-groups of babies are known to be at high risk of NEC such as babies who are very premature, with reduced blood flow to the intestines in the womb and whom are not fed with breast milk.