Maternal and Child Health Journal

, Volume 14, Issue 6, pp 978–986

Predictors of Preterm Births and Low Birthweight in an Inner-City Hospital in Sub-Saharan Africa


    • Maternal and Child Health Unit, Department of Community Health and Primary Care, College of MedicineUniversity of Lagos
  • Gabriel E. Ofovwe
    • Department of Child Health, College of Medical SciencesUniversity of Benin

DOI: 10.1007/s10995-009-0528-4

Cite this article as:
Olusanya, B.O. & Ofovwe, G.E. Matern Child Health J (2010) 14: 978. doi:10.1007/s10995-009-0528-4


Adverse birth outcomes remain significant contributors to perinatal mortality as well as developmental disabilities worldwide but limited evidence exists in sub-Saharan Africa based on a conceptual framework incorporating neighborhood context. This study therefore set out to determine the prevalence and risk factors for preterm births and low birthweight in an urban setting from this region. A cross-sectional study of all live births from May 2005 to December 2007 in an inner-city maternity hospital in Lagos, Nigeria. Factors predictive of preterm births and low birthweight were determined by unconditional multivariable logistic regression within a conceptual framework for adverse birth outcomes. Population attributable risk (PAR%) for each factor was also determined. Of the 4,314 newborns enrolled, 859 (19.9%) were preterm and 440 (10.2%) were low birthweight. One-third of mothers received no antenatal care while about 6% had HIV and another 6% had a history of hypertensive disorders. About 43% of the low birthweight infants were born full term. Maternal predictors of preterm delivery and/or low birthweight were marital status, occupation, residential accommodation with shared sanitation facilities, lack of antenatal care, absence of previous cesarean section, hypertensive disorders and antepartum hemorrhage. Gender and intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) were also predictive of low birthweight. IUGR (PAR = 48.74%) and lack of prior cesarean section (PAR = 41.99%) were the leading contributors to preterm birth and/or low birthweight. The burden of preterm and low birthweight deliveries in this setting is associated with modifiable individual and neighborhood-level risk factors that warrant community-oriented public health interventions.


Intrauterine growth restriction Previous cesarean section Maternal occupation Pregnancy outcomes Maternal HIV Hypertension Neighborhood effect Developing country

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009