Maternal factors in predicting low birth weight babies

Med J Malaysia. 2013;68(1):44-7.


This study examines the association between maternal factors and low birth weight among newborns at a tertiary hospital in Malaysia. This was a cross-sectional study where mothers were followed through from first booking till delivery. There were 666 mothers who delivered from May 2007 to March 2008. Infants' birth weight were compared with maternal age, pre-pregnancy BMI, fathers BMI, parity, ethnicity, per capita monthly income, and maternal blood pressure during pregnancy. A multiple logistic regressions was used to determine the relationship of maternal factors and low birth weight, while the ROC curve was constructed to assess the sensitivity and specificity of the predictive model. Among the significant risk factors of low birth weight were older age (35 years and above), low pre-pregnancy BMI (<20 kg/m2), parity of 4 and above, Indian origin, economically under privileged, and low and high blood pressure. Blood pressure during pregnancy was an important risk factor for LBW, by using this parameter alone the risk of LBW could be predicted with a sensitivity rate of 70% and a specificity rate of 70%. The sensitivity and specificity was further improved to 80% and 75% percent respectively when other factors like maternal factors such as maternal age, pre-pregnancy BMI, ethnicity, and per capita monthly income were included in the analysis.

MeSH terms

  • Birth Weight*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight*
  • Maternal Age
  • Parity
  • Risk Factors