Low Birth Weight and Associated Maternal Factors in Ghana

Michael Ofori Fosu, Louis Munyakazi, N.N.N Nsowah-Nuamah


This study examines the prevalence of low birth weight (LBW) among infants and its association with maternal factors in Ghana. The study used a data set based on alongitudinal study from the fourth round Multiple Indicators Cluster Survey (MICS). This was a national  survey conducted by Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) in 2011 to monitor the progress of women and children. A sample of 10,963 women within the reproductive age (15 - 49 years) across the country between 2009 and 2011 were selected for the survey.

In this study, a multiple logistic regression was used to determine the relationship of maternal factors and low birth weight. The estimated LBW prevalence was 9.2% which is higher than other part of the world. Few children are weighed at birth as less than 50% of babies born in Ghana are weighed at birth.This means that the prevalence rate could be higher than the current estimate. This stands to reason that the rate still indicates a public health problem (ACC/SCN, 2000). The factors observed to be  highly significantly associated with LBW included Antenatal Care (p-value =0.0010), Educational level (p-value =0.0011), Location (p-value =0.0011) and Economic status (p-value=<0.0001) as well as Central region (p-value= 0.0003). There is also risk for maternal age less than 24 and above 35 years (p-value=1.3409E-19 and 3.8257E-21 respectively), mothers who had given birth to more than four children (p-value=1.4519E-33) and women in Northen region (p-value= 0.0535 ). All other variables considered such as malaria in pregnancy, ethnicity, and marital status were not very significant (p-values > 0.05).

In a nutshell, economic status, educational level, antenatal care and location are highly significantly risk factors associated with LBW in Ghana. Early/late maternal age and parity of more than four also showed some level of significance with LBW. Malaria in pregnancy, ethnicity, and marital status among others were however not significant.

Keywords: Low birth weight, maternal factors, prevalence rate, risk factors

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ISSN (Paper)2224-3208 ISSN (Online)2225-093X

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