The effects of weathering demonstrated by maternal age on low birth weight outcome in babies
BACKGROUND: Increasing age has been hypothesized with wear and tear (weathering) in mothers, which may result to low birthweight of their babies. The prevalence of low birthweight could be heightened if maternal weathering is associated with poor maternal socioeconomic variables. In this current study, we analyzed the effects of maternal weathering on babies’ birthweights.
METHODS: One hundred and twenty four mother-baby pairs were selected using systematic random sampling method. Maternal age formed part of the demographic data that was obtained from the mothers’ case notes and from interviews held with them. Maternal socioeconomic variables were assessed using Oyedeji’s parameters and birthweights of babies were determined using bassinet weighing scale. Associations between maternal socioeconomic variables and birthweight of babies were assessed using univariate analysis. Differences in mean birthweight of babies according to their maternal age were evaluated using one-way analysis of variance ANOVA.
RESULTS: Among the 124 babies, 66(53.2%) were males and 58(46.8%) females of whom the majority 104(83.9%, had normal birthweight. The mean birthweight of babies was 3.05±0.57 (95% CI, 2.95–3.15) kg, while the mean maternal age was 23.60 (5.2) 95% CI, (22.68–24.52) years. The difference between mean birthweight of babies and mean maternal age was not significant (F=1.35, p=0.255). Similarly, the association between birthweight, maternal education and occupation computed using univariate analysis was not significant (F=2.163, p=0.120) for education and (F=1.825, p=0.166) for occupation.
CONCLUSION: In this study, maternal weathering was not found to be associated with LBW outcome. This implies that an increase in maternal age may not be significantly associated with LBW. However, there is need for further research on this subject from different centers using larger sample size in order to enhance the precision of the study.
KEYWORDS: Mother-baby pairs, Maternal Weathering, Low birthweight, Maiduguri, Nigeria