Demographic surveillance over 12 years helps elicit determinants of low birth weights in India

Background

Low birth weight is an important predictor of maternal and child health. Birth weight is likely to be affected by maternal health, socioeconomic status and quality of health care facilities.

Objective

To assess trends in the birth weight, the proportion of low birth weight, maternal factors and health care facilities for delivery in villages of Western Maharashtra from the year 2004 to 2016 and to analyze factors associated with low birth weight for total birth data of 2004–2016.

Methods

Data collected for 19244 births from 22 villages in Vadu Health and Demographic Surveillance System (HDSS), Pune, Maharashtra, India from the year 2004 to 2016 were used for this analysis.

Results

There was an overall increase in the annual mean birth weight from 2640.12 gram [95% CI 2602.21–2686.84] in the year 2004 to 2781.19 gram [95% CI 2749.49–2797.95] in the year 2016. There was no secular trend to show increase or decrease in the proportion of low weight at birth. Increasing maternal age (>18 years) compounded with better education, reduced parity and increasing number of institutional deliveries were significant trends observed during the past decade. Low birth weight was found to be associated with female gender, first birth order, poor maternal education and occupation as cultivation.

Conclusion

Changes in maternal age, education, occupation, and increased institutionalized deliveries contributed in to increasing birth weights in rural Maharashtra. Female gender, first birth order, poor maternal education and occupation of cultivation are associated with increased risk of low birth weight.