Parity and maternal education are associated with low birth weight in Malawi

Afr Health Sci. 2011 Mar;11(1):65-71.


Background: The consequences of low birth weight (LBW) include death and long-term health sequelae. Limited attention has been made towards the study of socio-demographic factors that may be associated with LBW in Malawi.

Objectives: To assess factors that may be associated with LBW.

Methods: We used secondary data on the 2006 Malawi Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS). Logistic regression analyses were conducted.

Results: A total of 26,259 females in the age group 15-49 years participated in the survey, and of these, 5024 had children who were reported to have been weighed at birth. Most (60.5%) of the respondents were in the 20-29 years age group. In multivariate analysis, the odds of LBW delivery were lower for women in higher wealth quintiles and those who had some education. Women who previously had a child were less likely to deliver a LBW baby.

Conclusion: The higher odds of delivering a LBW baby among women with no education, and lower wealth status may suggest that there is need to tailor pre-natal care based interventions on social status. This may involve creating education level-specific health messages.

Keywords: Parity; low birth weight; maternal education.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Delivery, Obstetric
  • Educational Status*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Logistic Models
  • Malawi / epidemiology
  • Marital Status
  • Maternal Age
  • Middle Aged
  • Mothers / statistics & numerical data*
  • Parity*
  • Poverty
  • Pregnancy
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Young Adult