Determinants of Low Birth Weight Babies (A prospective study of associated factors and outcome)

Keywords: Low birth rate, obstetrics/Paediatric care, education of woman.


The weight of an infant below 2.5 kg. is classified as low birth weight (LBW). To establish the incidence of LBW babies, with particular reference to associated features and neonatal outcome a prospective study was conducted in the department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital over a period of one year from June 1, 1997 to May 31, 1998. Out of 3315 babies delivered, 135 (4.08%) were of low birth weight. 89 (65.92%) were delivered by; mothers who never had the antenatal checkups done. Majority of the women i.e. 63(46.66%) were from poor socioeconomic class and most of the babies were delivered by young primigravidas 50(37%). Majority of the women was of average height and weight. 49(36.29%) babies were delivered by cesarean section and others were delivered by either spontaneous vaginal delivery or assisted with forceps or breech deliveries. Only 55(40.74%) babies had good Apgar score. Birth weight of 75 (55.55%) babies was between2-2.4kg and of 21 (15.5%) was less than 1.5 kg. No cause was found in 12 (8.8%) cases, however, 91% of LBW had verifiable cause. No complication was noted in 76(56.24%) of the cases while 37% LBW babies developed complications like RDS, asphyxia neonatorum and sepsis. 104 babies were sent home. Out of these 75(72.11%) were alive and healthy after 6 weeks and 16(15.38%) died at home 13(12.5%) cases were lost to follow-up. It was concluded that high quality obstetrics and pediatric input is necessary at all stages of fetal development and the importance of education for the mothers in particular, and women in general was proved.

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