Predictors of Birth Weight Among Infants in Uasin Gishu County, Kenya

Main Article Content

Susan Keino
Caroline Sawe
Ashley Aimone
Klabbers Gonnie
Peter Kimeli

Keywords

Birthweight, low birth weight, unemployment, gender

Abstract

Birth weight is a predictor of survival rate among neonates and a marker of neonatal and maternal nutrition and health. Low birth weight is associated with both short-term and long-term consequences for neonates that include risk for chronic diseases later in life. This study determined the prevalence of low birth weight as well as factors associated with birth weight in Uasin Gishu County, Kenya. This was a retrospective study in which health records of 970 mothers who delivered at Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital in Kenya were evaluated. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and linear regression modelling. The mean birth weight (BW) was 3.0±0.6 kg and the prevalence of low birth weight was 13.5%. The mothers’ mean age (years) was 26.0±5.8 with a median of 25 (range:14-46) years.  Factors associated with low birth weight were: employment status, marital status, sex of the child, gestation, presence of deformity and pregnancy outcome. In the final multivariate linear regression model, mean infant BW reduced by 15.1% when the mother was unemployed compared to 8.7% for those who were formally employed. Infants born via CS had 9.6% higher BW than those born vaginally. BW reduced by 15.5% when the infant was female compared with those who were male. There was an increase in the infant BW by 46.0% when infant had no deformity. The relationship between the gestation period at delivery and infant BW depended on the pregnancy outcome. Factors associated with low birth weight were employment status, marital status, sex of the child, gestation period, presence of deformity and pregnancy outcome. Interventions aiming at improving BW and reducing the prevalence of LBW should consider these factors.

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