Introduction A low birth weight (LBW) is an important indicator of infant morbidity and mortality. There is also growing evidence that the adverse consequences of LBW may continue throughout a subject's life. The aim of this study was to determine the association of maternal factors during pre-pregnancy and pregnancy with LBW in a Japanese population.
Methods A prospective cohort study carried out in Tokyo by the National Center for Child Health and Development of Japan was performed between 1 October 2003 and 31 December 2005. A total of 1338 pregnant women with singleton pregnancies were recruited at ≦16 weeks gestation and followed-up until partus. Logistic regression models were used to assess the risk factors for LBW.
Results A maternal age of 30–34 years (OR=2.83, 95% CI 1.17 to 6.88), an increase in maternal height in cm (OR=0.94, 95% CI 0.89 to 0.99), pre-pregnancy body mass index <18.5 kg/m2 (OR=2.53, 95% CI 1.47 to 4.34), gestational weight gain during pregnancy <7 kg (OR=2.27, 95% CI 1.18 to 4.36), passive exposure to smoking at work early in pregnancy (OR=2.48, 95% CI 1.16 to 5.28), an increase in annual household income (p for trend=0.01), a history of oral ferrotherapy to treat anaemia (OR=0.31, 95% CI 0.14 to 0.71) and gestational age ≧37 weeks (OR=0.01, 95% CI 0.01 to 0.02) were significantly associated with LBW.
Conclusions Our findings suggest that higher maternal socio-economic status, passive exposure to smoking early in pregnancy, pre-pregnancy thinness and insufficient weight gain during pregnancy are important predisposing factors for LBW, and a history of oral ferrotherapy to treat anaemia seems to decrease the risk of LBW.
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