Background Prevalence of Low birth weight (LBW) in India shows regional variations. Factors associated with LBW are multidimensional. We aim to describe the prevalence of LBW and to investigate the associated risk factors in a district hospital in a South Indian town, Davangere.
Methods Data was collected from births in Chigateri-district-hospital; 1000 bedded hospital with rural and urban catchment area. LBW was defined as birth weight of <2.5 kg. Maternal age (teenage; ≤19 years), haemoglobin (Hb), gravida, gestational age (preterm; <37 weeks) and sex of the child were analysed. Moderate to severe anaemia (MS-A) defined as Hb <9.9 gms/lt. Logistic regression analysis was used to explore the associations and then factors with significant association were entered into a multivariate regression.
Results 6539 births over 5 years were analysed. Prevalence of LBW was 27.5%. Teenage pregnancy was 11.4%, MS-A was 71.9% and preterm birth rate was 11.4%. On individual testing teenage pregnancy, MS-A, preterm birth and female sex were significantly associated with LBW. On multivariate regression only preterm birth and sex remained significant. Number of gravida was not significantly associated with LBW. Results with odds ratios are given in the table.
Conclusion LBW is still prevalent and remains a challenge for public healthcare in India. Interventions aimed at reducing teenage pregnancies and maternal anaemia will be helpful. Further research needs to focus on prevention of preterm births and to understand the biological reason for LBW associated with sex of the neonate.