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Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2001 May;80(5):402-8.

Maternal hematological status and risk of low birth weight and preterm delivery in Nepal.

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Centre for International Health and the Section for Medical Statistics, Armauer Hansens Building, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway.



Our aim was to investigate associations between maternal characteristics, with emphasis on hematological status, and risk of low birth weight and preterm delivery among pregnant Nepali women.


In a case-control study, 1400 pregnant women attending Patan Hospital, Kathmandu, Nepal for antenatal care and delivery in the period 1994 to 1996 were included. Women with twin pregnancies (n=15) and those delivering infants with congenital malformations (n=13) were excluded from the study. Maternal characteristics including hematocrit values were recorded at the first antenatal visit. Main outcome measures included birth weight, gestation at delivery, Apgar score, mode of delivery, and perinatal death. Linear and logistic regression models were used to analyze data.


Severe anemia (hematocrit < or =24%) was associated with a significantly increased risk of low birth weight (<2500 g) and preterm delivery (<37 weeks gestation). High hematocrit values (> or =40%) did not increase the risk of low birth weight or preterm delivery. The risk of low Apgar score or operative deliveries was significantly increased in women with severe anemia in the first trimester. Teenagers, women with short height or low body mass index, and those belonging to the ethnic group Brahmins, had significantly higher risks of delivering low birth weight infants.


Severe maternal anemia, particularly in the first trimester, was significantly associated with adverse pregnancy outcome. Low maternal age, height or body mass index also increased the risk of low birth weight. Improvements in the nutritional status of young Nepali women could contribute to improved health among their infants.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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