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Keywords:

  • infant mortality;
  • prenatal care;
  • very low birth weight;
  • weight gain

Abstract

Objective

To determine the risk factors associated with having a very low birth weight (VLBW) infant as a follow-up to the first phase of a Perinatal Periods of Risk approach.

Design and Sample

Retrospective cohort analysis of birth certificates. Population-based sample of 53,427 birth certificates for the city under study during the years 1999–2006.

Measures

The relationship of selected maternal characteristics as predictors of VLBW using multivariate logistic regression analysis.

Results

The maternal characteristics associated with VLBW were as follows: no prenatal care (OR = 4.04), inadequate weight gain (OR = 3.97), Black, non-Hispanic race (OR = 1.50), less than 20 years old (OR = 1.42) and more than 35 years old (OR = 1.43). After analyzing age and race/ethnicity together, Black non-Hispanic women less than 20 years of age (OR = 2.70) or over 35 years of age (OR = 2.45) still had an increased odds for having a VLBW infant whereas Black non-Hispanic women between the ages of 20 and 35 did not.

Conclusions

The findings of this study suggest educating women on the importance of preconception care, prenatal care, and adequate pregnancy weight gain to reduce the odds of having a VLBW infant.