The aim of this study was to evaluate the association between maternal characteristics and low birth weight (LBW). An exploratory case-control investigation was conducted in two hospital that provide attendance through SUS in neighbouring municipalities: Petrolina (Pernambuco) and Juazeiro (Bahia), Brazil. The sample consisted of 588 puerperae, of whom 136 were in the case group (women with low-weight children) and 452 in the control group (mothers of normal-weight children). In the data analysis procedures, the distribution of the variables was evaluated using the χ2 test at the significance level of 5%. This study was approved by the Research Ethics Committee of UEFS (CAAE: 0151.0.0590.000-08). The results demonstrated that LBW was associated with the mother's occupation during pregnancy (p=0.04), father's schooling level (p=0.01), mother's race/colour (p=0.00), municipality of origin (p=0.01), mother's age (p=0.00), number of prenatal consultations (p=0.00), presence of pregnancy card at time of delivery (p=0.00), number of consultations with a medical professional (p=0.04), number of pregnancies (p=0.01) and gestational age (p=0.00). However, there were no statistically significant associations with the other variables. The findings reaffirm that having quality prenatal care is of utmost importance, with greater efforts made towards identifying factors that are associated with LBW, with a view to reducing the occurrence of this undesirable gestational outcome.
- Low birth weight
- risk factors