Background: Low-BIRTH-weight (LBW) is universally used as an indicator of health status and is an important subject of national concern and a focus of health policy. LBW has been shown to be associated with a higher risk for childhood mortality and morbidity.
Objective: To determine the important risk factors which could affect the delivery of LBW neonates.
Methods: This case-control study was undertaken to determine some risk factors for LBW in two university hospitals in Tehran during a 12-month period between 2002 and 2003. One hundred and sixty neonates constituted the LBW group and 300 neonates constituted the control group. Maternal risk factors including body mass index (BMI), educational level, interval between pregnancies, history of previous delivery of LBW neonates, abortion, infertility, unwanted pregnancy, and diseases were analyzed between the two groups. Mean of maternal age was similar between the two groups.
Results: Of 160 LBW neonates, 58% were females and 42% males. It was found that mother’s BMI, unwanted pregnancy, educational level of mother, short and long intervals between pregnancies, previous history of delivering LBW neonates, and maternal diseases are associated with an increased risk of LBW.
Conclusion: The majority of factors which lead to the delivery of LBW neonates are preventable.