Low birth weight (LBW) remains the main cause of mortality and morbidity in infants, and a
problem in the care of pregnant women world-wide particularly in developing countries. The
purpose of this study was to describe the socio-demographic, nutritional, reproductive, medical
and obstetrical risk factors for delivering a live LBW infant at Harare Maternity Hospital,
A secondary data analysis from data obtained through a questionnaire and delivery records
was conducted. Linear regression models with a complimentary log-log link function were
used to estimate the relative risks for all LBW, term LBW and preterm LBW.
The frequency of LBW was 16.7%. Lack of prenatal care (adjusted relative risk [ARR] 1.69,
95% CI 1.44, 1.98), mother’s mid-arm circumference below 28.5 cm, (ARR 1.35, 95% CI
1.19, 1.54) and rural residence (ARR 1.22, 95% CI 1.04, 1.40) increased the risk of LBW.
Eclampsia, anemia, and ante-partum hemorrhage, were associated with LBW (ARR 2.64,
95% CI 1.30, 5.35; ARR = 2.63, 95% CI 1.16, 5.97; and ARR = 2.39, 95% CI 1.55, 3.68),
respectively. Malaria increased the risk of LBW (ARR = 1.89, 95% CI 1.21, 2.96). Prenatal
care, infant sex, anemia, antepartum hemorrhage, premature rapture of membranes and preterm labor were associated with the three LBW categories. History of abortion or stillbirth,
history of LBW, malaria, eclampsia, and placenta Previa, were associated with all
LBW and preterm LBW, while pregnancy induced hypertension, and number of children
alive were associated with all LBW and term LBW.
LBW frequency remains high and is associated with nutritive, reproductive, medical and
obstetrical factors. Preterm LBW and term LBW have similar and also different risk factors.
Understanding the role of different risk factors in these different LBW categories is important
if the goal is to reduce LBW frequency, and its complications, in Zimbabwe.
All relevant data are
available via Figshare (http://dx.doi.org/10.6084/m9.
figshare.1348840 and http://dx.doi.org/10.6084/m9.