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This article is part of the supplement: Proceedings of the 6th Postgraduate Forum on Health Systems and Policies

Open Access Meeting abstract

Influence of antenatal care on birth weight: a cross sectional study in Baghdad City, Iraq

Mohammed A Abdal Qader1*, Idayu Badilla1, Rahmah Mohd Amin1 and Hasanain Faisal Ghazi12

  • * Corresponding author: Mohammed A Abdal Qader

Author affiliations

1 Department of Community Health, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Medical Centre, Jalan Yaacob Latiff, 56000 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

2 United Nations University - International Institute for Global Health, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Medical Centre, Jalan Yaacob Latiff, 56000 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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Citation and License

BMC Public Health 2012, 12(Suppl 2):A38  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-12-S2-A38

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

Published:27 November 2012

© 2012 Abdal Qader et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Antenatal care is defined as the care given to mothers and their fetus during pregnancy. There are many aspects of antenatal care that need to be emphasized to ensure good delivery outcome. One important outcome is low birth weight which has been defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as weight at birth of less than 2.500 grams (up to and including 2,499 g) irrespective of gestational age. This paper aims to show the association between antenatal care and birth weight.

Materials and methods

A cross-sectional study involving 225 newborns recruited randomly from four General Hospitals in different areas of Baghdad were carried out in 2009. Mothers of these infants were interviewed within 24 hours after delivery. Severely ill mothers, preterm deliveries and congenital malformation babies were excluded from the study.


The percentage of low birth weight babies was 21.3%. The minimum number of antenatal care visit was one, while the maximum number of antenatal care visits was 9; the mean was 3.95 ± 1.70. The percentage of mothers who attended and registered their first antenatal care during first trimester was 73.8%, as compared to 26% who registered their first visit after first trimester. There was no significant relationship between number of antenatal care visit and low birth weight babies (p = 0.89). However, time of booking and place of first antenatal visit were significantly associated (p < 0.001, < 0.01 respectively) with low birth weight.


Antenatal care of the pregnant mothers is one of the important risk factors contributing to low birth weight babies. Even though the average number of antenatal visits was satisfactory, early booking at a health centre need to be properly advocated to mothers to avoid poor birth outcome such as low birth weight.