Maternal anthropometry as predictors of low birth weight

J Trop Pediatr. 2006 Feb;52(1):24-9. doi: 10.1093/tropej/fmi059. Epub 2005 Jun 24.


The usefulness of maternal anthropometric parameters i.e. maternal weight (MWt), maternal height (MHt), maternal mid-arm circumference (MMAC) and maternal body mass index (MBMI) as predictors of low birth weight (LBW) was studied in 395 singleton pregnancies. The maternal anthropometric parameters were measured in the first trimester of pregnancy and were plotted against the birth weight of the newborns. Significant positive correlations were observed among MWt and birth weight (r=0.38), MHt and birth weight (r=0.25), MMAC and birth weight (r=0.30) and MBMI and birth weight (r=0.30). The most sensitive being MWt (t=7.796), followed by MMAC (t=5.759), MHt (t=4.706) and MBMI (t=5.89). For prediction of LBW, the critical limits of MWt, MHt, MMAC and MBMI were 45 kg, 152 cm, 22.5 cm, 20 kg/m2 respectively. From these observations, the use of colour-coded weighing machines, height rods and tapes may be devised for use by peripheral health workers and traditional birth attendants for detection of mothers at risk of delivering low birth weight babies (Table 5). Mothers who have anthropometric parameters in the 'red zone' are at risk of delivery LBW infants.

MeSH terms

  • Anthropometry*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Developing Countries
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • India / epidemiology
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Maternal Welfare / statistics & numerical data*
  • Observer Variation
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Care / methods
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Assessment
  • Survival Rate