Influence of maternal and social factors as predictors of low birth weight in Italy
Chair of Hygiene, Medical School, University of Catanzaro "Magna Græcia"of Catanzaro (Italy), Via Tommaso Campanella, 115 88100 Catanzaro, Italy
BMC Public Health 2007, 7:192 doi:10.1186/1471-2458-7-192Published: 3 August 2007
The purpose of this study is to provide insight into the determinants of low birth weight (LBW) in Italy.
The study was carried out in a non-teaching hospital in Catanzaro (Italy). All LBW and very LBW newborns (200) were included in the study and a random sample of 400 newborns weighing ≥ 2500 g was selected. Data were collected from the delivery certificates during one year. Smoking activity of mother and familiar and/or social support during pregnancy was gathered through telephone interviews.
Overall annual LBW rate was 11.8%. Among LBW newborn there were 125 preterm and 75 term. Younger mothers, those who smoked during pregnancy, and had fewer prenatal care visits were more likely to deliver a LBW child; moreover, preterm newborns, delivered by caesarean section, and twin or multiple birth were significantly more likely to have a LBW. The comparison of very LBW (<1500 g) to LBW newborns showed that a very LBW was significantly more likely in newborns delivered by less educated mothers, those who work outside the home, live in smaller towns, and had less echographies; moreover, as expected, very LBW newborns were more likely to be preterm.
Several modifiable factors affect the risk of LBW, even when universal access to health care is freely available, but socio-economic status appears to correlate only to very LBW.