Parental socioeconomic status and birth weight distribution of Nigerian term newborn babies
Background: Birth weight is one of the most important determinants of perinatal well -being and survival. It may be influenced by socioeconomic
status among other factors.
Objective: To evaluate the influence of parental socioeconomic status on birth weight distribution of term infants
Patients and Methods: Consecutive singleton, term newborns and their parents were recruited. Socioeconomic status was determined from parental education and occupation. Neonatal anthropometry was recorded soon after birth. The relationship between neonatal anthropometry and parental socioeconomic status was evaluated.
Results: The mean birth weight of the 280 newborns was 3180g + 501 with a range of 1800g to 5000g. Most babies (181; 64.7%) weighed between 2500g and 3490g while 5.7% weighed less than 2500g and 20 (7.1%) were
small for gestational age. Most parents (196; 70%) were in the upper classes I and II, 69 (24.6%) were in class III while 15 (5.4%) were in classes IV and V. Babies in the socioeconomic classes IV and V had significantly lower mean birth weight than babies in each of classes I, II and III (p = 0.005, 0.006 and 0.04 respectively). High maternal education
and paternal occupation were associated with significantly higher mean birth weights (p = 0.007, 0.018 respectively). The low birth weight rate was significantly higher in the lower social classes III to V compared to the two upper classes (10.7% vs. 3.57%;, p = 0.022.
Conclusion: Disadvantaged socioeconomic status was associated with lower mean birth weights with maternal education and paternal occupation exerting the higher influences.
Key words: Socioeconomic Status, Birth weight, maternal education, paternal occupation