The causes of low birth weight (LBW) are multifactoral with genetic, placental, fetal and maternal factors interplaying with each other. To assess the influence of some of the maternal bio-social factors on the variance of birth weight, this study was undertaken. A total of 984 consecutive live births delivered at an urban hospital were analysed. The rate of LBW was 28.3% and preterms accounted for 3.2%. A strong correlation existed between birth weight and maternal height, weight, age, ANC visits and risk status at pregnancy. A short, malnourished, young, unregistered or primiparous mother was associated with a higher rate of LBW. On multiple regression analysis it was noted that maternal weight, parity and ANC visits independently affected the birthweight of the new born. Therefore emphasis needs to be given to maternal biosocial factors which are amenable to improvement to reduce the incidence of LBW. This can be done by selectively targeting interventions to improve nutrition, and curtailing parity and promoting contraception.
Low birth weight Maternal age Height and weight Parity ANC visits