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A Review of Low Birth Weight in Ethiopia: Socio-Demographic and Obstetric Risk Factors

Abstract Background: Neonatal morbidity and mortality, particularly relating to the low birth weight babies is still high in Africa, including Ethiopia. Most newborn deaths are among low birth weight babies. In 2013, birth asphyxia (34%) and prematurity (25%) were causes of neonatal mortality in Ethiopia, which are the most common causes for low birth weight. Therefore, this review aimed to document the main risk factors for low birth weight in Ethiopian studies. Methods: The reviewed articles were accessed through web-based search from PubMed, MEDLINE, HINARI and Google Scholar. Results: Socio-demographic (maternal education level, occupation, income and place of residence), maternal/obstetric (maternal age, antenatal care visit, maternal weight and stature, preterm birth and parity), obstetric and medical disorders during pregnancy (hypertensive disorders of pregnancy, anemia and malaria) and fetal factors (infant sex and congenital malformations) are the common risk factors for low birth weight in Ethiopia. Conclusion: Health education and information on maternal nutrition, use of psychoactive substances and providing social support during pregnancy are important interventions to improve birth weight in Ethiopia.

Author(s): Bililign N*, Legesse M and Akibu M

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