Determinants of low birth weight babies born in a secondary and tertiary level government hospital in Delhi: a matched case control study

Naveen Prabhu Jayaraj, Akanksha Rathi, D. K. Taneja


Background: Low birth weight (LBW) is caused by either a short gestation period (prematurity) or due to intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR) or a combination of both. LBW babies are more prone for perinatal and neonatal health problems such as immaturity, asphyxia, hypothermia and infections and also at high risk of developing diabetes, hypertension, coronary artery disease and stroke later in life. Though there are many studies none has comprehensively dealt with all the risk factors. Therefore, the present study was carried out with the objective to study the determinants of LBW babies born in a secondary and tertiary level government hospital.

Methods: This hospital based case control study was conducted in two hospitals in Delhi from January 2014 to December 2014. A semi-structured questionnaire was designed using knowledge obtained on various determinants and factors associated with low birth weight from the studies was administered.

Results: Illiterate mother, illiterate father, nuclear family, low socioeconomic class, heavy work, mother’s height <145 cm , mother’s weight <45 kg, anemia, not consuming green leafy vegetables during pregnancy, unregistered pregnancy, less than 4 antenatal visits, non-intake of IFA, female baby, gravida 4 or more, preterm birth, birth interval <2 years, tobacco chewing, exposure to second hand tobacco smoke, indoor air pollution and mental stress during pregnancy were associated with LBW.

Conclusions: Immediate interventions for the present and near future include adequate antenatal care, adequate dietary intake and rest during pregnancy, regular intake of iron and folic acid, preventing tobacco use and adequate birth spacing.


Low birth weight, Preterm, Risk factors

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