Risk factors for low birth weight: a review

Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2004 Sep 10;116(1):3-15. doi: 10.1016/j.ejogrb.2004.03.007.


Low birth weight (LBW) is one of the main predictors of infant mortality. The global incidence of LBW is around 17%, although estimates vary from 19% in the developing countries (countries where it is an important public health problem) to 5-7% in the developed countries. The incidence in Spain in the decade 1980-1989 was about 5.7%. LBW is generally associated with situations in which uterine malnutrition is produced due to alterations in placental circulation. There are many known risk factors, the most important of which are socio-economic factors, medical risks before or during gestation and maternal lifestyles. However, although interventions exist to prevent many of these factors before and during pregnancy, the incidence of LBW has not decreased.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications*
  • Prenatal Care
  • Risk Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors