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Maternal short stature: A risk factor for low birth weight in neonates

Keywords: low birth weight , maternal short stature

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Abstract:

Low birth weight (LBW) is the most common cause of perinatal mortality, causing almost 30 percent of neonatal deaths. On the other hand, maternal short stature is known to cause a lot of obstetric complications like cephalopelvic disproportion and arrest of labor, intrauterine asphyxia, intrauterine growth retardation. The objective of our study was to find out whether there was any significant statistical association between maternal height and the birth weight of the neonate. We identified a group of low birth weight neonates (n=54) and a control group (n=51) of normal weight neonates at term in Mediciti Hospital over a period of 1 year and retrospectively looked the maternal heights for both groups. Inclusion criteria being mothers who delivered at term, mothers who had a hemoglobin level more than 10 gm/dl, mothers with relatively uneventful antenatal without any significant obstetric or medical complications during the pregnancy, and neonates with relatively uneventful post-natal periods without any significant pediatric or medical complications. The odds of having been born of a mother of short stature are more than three times greater for a low birth weight baby than a normal weight baby. The mean of birth weights of babies born to mothers of normal height is more than the mean of birth weights of babies born to mothers of short stature by 277.01 gm. This study reaffirms the observation that maternal height has a direct effect on the weight of the newborn and we propose that maternal short stature be identified as an independent risk factor for low birth weight.

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