Pan African Medical Journal

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Incidence and correlates of low birth weight at a referral hospital in Northwest Ethiopia

Berihun Megabiaw Zeleke, Meseret Zelalem, Nuru Mohammed


Background: Weight at birth is a good indicator of the newborn’s chances for survival, growth, long-term health and psychosocial development. Low birth weight (LBW) babies are significantly at risk of death, contributing to the high perinatal morbidity and mortality in developing countries. Hence, this study aims to assess the incidence and associated factors of low birth weight (LBW) in Gondar University Hospital deliveries. Methods: A cross-sectional study, conducted on 305 live births from May 1- July 30, 2010. Information on independent variables was collected from the mothers just before discharge using a structured interview questionnaire. Neonatal weight was measured using standard beam balance. Both interviews and weight measurements were done by two trained midwives. Gestational age was determined by last normal menstrual period and/or ultrasound examinations. Results: The mean and standard deviations of the birth weights were 2976 ±476 grams. Incidence of LBW (birth weight <2500 grams) was 17.1% (95%CI 13.3%, 21.6%). LBW was associated with first delivery (AOR=2.85), lack of antenatal care follow up (AOR= 5.68) or infrequent visits and being HIV positive (AOR=3.22). More female newborns were with low birth weight than males though the difference was not significant after controlling for potential confounders in the multivariate analysis. Conclusion: There is a high incidence of LBW. Efforts should to enhance national antenatal care utilization in general, and particularly in Gondar, should be encouraged as its absence is closely associated with LBW.

Pan African Medical Journal 2012; 12:4

AJOL African Journals Online