Published: 2017-02-05

Low birth weight and its risk factors in a rural area of South India

Avita Rose Johnson, Surekha A., Astrid Dias, Neena Chris William, Twinkle Agrawal


Background: Birth weight is a reliable and sensitive predictor of a new-born’s chances for survival, growth and long-term physical and psychosocial development. There are few studies done in rural South India documenting valuable data such as detailed maternal nutritional intakes and psychological factors, and linking them to LBW. The objective was to estimate the proportion of LBW in a maternity center, Snehalaya hospital, Solur, Ramnagar district, Karnataka and to assess the factors affecting birth weight.

Methods:We conducted a cross-sectional study in a maternity centre, Snehalaya, in Solur Village, Ramnagar District, Karnataka between September and November 2014. Consecutive sampling was used to recruit 144 patients and the questionnaire was then administered to them.

Results: Among the 144 women, the proportion of LBW was found to be 14.6% and the mean birth weight was 2.6± 0.4kg. We also found a significant association of birth weight with per capita income, maternal pregnancy weight gain, number of antenatal visits, maternal education, tobacco consumption, and stress and egg consumption in diet. Multivariate analysis showed significant association of birth weight with maternal pregnancy weight gain, tobacco consumption and stress.

Conclusions:A greater number of the subjects were found to have access to the basic antenatal care measures such as nutrition, free iron supplements and regular antenatal check-ups and this has shown to have a positive effect on the birth weight in the study population. Though various factors have been already proven to be associated, psychological and nutritional factors have to be concentrated henceforth.


Low birth weight, Associated factors, Dietary, Psychological

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