Birth weights and gestational ages of Malawian newborns at Queen Elizabeth Central hospital - Blantyre Malawi – a retrospective analysis

  • Aklilu M Metaferia
  • George Kafulafula
  • EV Malunga


Objective: To determine the distributions of birth weight (BW) and gestational age (GA) and calculate rates of still birth (SB) of four years delivery in the Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital( QECH).

Methods: Retrospective analysis was carried out on data of deliveries conducted between January 2000 and December 2003. Mean BW, mean GA, rates low birth weight (LBW), preterm delivery and SB as well as sex ratio were determined.

Results: There were 36439 singleton deliveries weighing 1000--5830g. Male to female ratio was 106. Seventy-nine percent were spontaneous vaginal deliveries and 13.3% were delivered by Cesarean sections. Stillbirths accounted for 3.4%. The overall mean BW for live births was 2964g (SD 526g). Males were heavier (3015g), than females (2911g), P value <0.01. About fourteen percent of live births were Low birth weight (LBW), but only 2 % weighed more than 4000g. More females (15.3%) were born as LBW than males (12.3%), P<0.001. The mean GA was 37.1 weeks, (SD= 2.25). 32.6% were delivered before 37weeks. A small proportion of males were born preterm than females, while the opposite was found of post term deliveries.

Conclusion: Mean BW and GA were low; LBW and preterm deliveries are high compared with regional and global figures. There was also a high SB rate. It is time to consider programmes to reduce the risks for unfavourable birth outcomes.

Malawi Medical Journal Vol. 17(3) 2005: 88-91

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1995-7262
print ISSN: 1995-7270