Globally, annually an estimated 15–20% of all births are low birth weight (LBW). Low birth weights are at a greater risk of neonatal and postneonatal mortality and morbidities. Therefore, this chapter is aimed to highlight the prevalence of low birth weight, predictors and adverse perinatal outcomes, and the respective possible prevention modalities. Sociodemographic, obstetric (previous abortion, hypertensive disorder, antenatal visits, and prematurity), and nutritional factors increased the risk of low birth weight. Low birth weight neonates were associated with adverse perinatal and childhood outcomes: low Apgar score, neonatal death, malnutrition, academic, and mental disorders. Improving the care of women who have previous or recent morbidities, hypertensive disorders of pregnancy, and prematurity should be priorities aimed at reducing low birth weight and its adverse perinatal outcomes. Incorporating mental health in the prenatal visit, improving the care for a high-risk pregnant woman, and community-based kangaroo mother care practice were also recommended.
Part of the book: Childbirth