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The weight of a baby at birth is the most commonly used outcome measure of pregnancy, frequently examined in epidemiological studies, and is widely associated with mortality and morbidity risks of infants. The aim of this study was to examine the influence of maternal socio-demographic characteristics on infant birth weight and particularly low birth weight. This was a cross-sectional study of 1,024 purposively selected pregnant mothers who delivered in four randomly selected antenatal clinics in urban Abeokuta, Nigeria. Physical examination, clinical profile, height and weight measurements before and immediately after delivery were recorded. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics and chi-square test of significance. Primiparous and multiparous mothers had 17.80% and 4.10% low birth weight (LBW) incidences, respectively. The relationship between maternal age and LBW, and that of parity and LBW were both statistically significant (p< 0.001). Mothers below 150cm height delivered babies with the lowest mean birth weight (2.33±0.17kg) while taller mothers had heavier babies. Mothers in the very low and low-income categories were associated with a higher incidence of LBW babies (27.92% and 25.0% respectively), in comparison with those mothers with higher average monthly income. Illiterate mothers also had the highest incidence of LBW (18.36%). Maternal parity, age, height, level of formal education, occupation, average monthly income and past obstetric history were found to be significant for LBW (p<0.001). Primiparous mothers in this study were found to be at particular risk of delivering LBW babies. Mothers with past history of previous LBW babies, abortions and perinatal death delivered more LBW newborns than those without such experiences.
Low birth weight, maternal age, parity, monthly income, past obstetric history