Open Access Research article

Birth weight and delivery practice in a Vietnamese rural district during 12 year of rapid economic development

Huong Thu Nguyen12*, Bo Eriksson2, Toan Khanh Tran3, Chuc Thi Kim Nguyen3 and Henry Ascher24

Author Affiliations

1 Research Institute for Child Health, National Hospital of Pediatrics, 18/879 La Thanh road, Hanoi, Dong Da district, Vietnam

2 Nordic School of Public Health, PO Box 12133, Gothenburg SE-402 42, Sweden

3 Family Medicine Department, Hanoi Medical University, No.1 Ton That Tung Street, Hanoi, Vietnam

4 Department of Social Medicine and Public Health, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, PO Box 440, Gothenburg SE-405 30, Sweden

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BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth 2013, 13:41  doi:10.1186/1471-2393-13-41

Published: 19 February 2013



Since the Doi Moi reform 1986 economic conditions in Vietnam have changed significantly and positive health and health care developments have been observed. International experience shows that improved economic conditions in a country can reduce the risk of perinatal mortality, decrease the risk of low birth weight and increase the mean birth weight in newborns. The Health and Demographic Surveillance Site (HDSS) FilaBavi in Bavi district outside Hanoi city has been operational since 1999. An open cohort of more than 12,000 households (52,000 persons) has been followed primarily with respect to demography, economy and education. The aim of this research is to study trends in birth weight as well as birth and delivery practices over the time period 1999–2010 in FilaBavi in relation to the social and economic development.


Information about birth weight, sex, place and method of delivery, mother’s age and education as well as household economy of 10,114 children, born from 1999 to 2010, was obtained from the routine data collection in the HDSS.


Over the study period the mean birth weight remained at the same level, about 3,100 g, in spite of increased economic resources and technology development. At the individual child level we found associations between birth weight and household economy as well as the education of the mother. Hospital delivery increased from about 35% to 65% and the use of Caesarian section increased from 2.6% to 10.1%.


During the twelve years studied, household income as well as the use of modern technology increased rapidly. In spite of that, the mean and variation of birth weight did not change systematically. It is suggested that increasing gaps in economic conditions and misallocation of resources, possibly to overuse of technology, are partly responsible.

Birth weight; Social and economic development; Sex ratio at birth; Rural Vietnam