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Saudi Med J. 2000 Jul;21(7):649-54.

The relation of low birth weight to psychosocial stress and maternal anthropometric measurements.

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Department of Community Health Sciences, College of Applied Medical Sciences, King Saud University, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.



To determine the relationship between low birth weight and psychological stress during pregnancy, as well as anthropometric measurements of Saudi mothers.


A total of 500 Saudi women were selected, according to weight and gestation age of their new born infants, one control was selected per one case (their weight less than 2500 grams). Data was collected from El-Shamasy Maternal and Child Hospital at Riyadh city. Four instruments were used; interview questionnaire, psychosocial scales to measure life stresses, true sheet to assess maternal anthropometric data and new form characteristics. Data was analyzed using SAS system. Analysis techniques included chi-square, odd ratio and P values at < 0.05 significance level.


The results reflected an increased risk of low birth weight newborns among women who had experienced an intermediate level of stress during a period of 12 months prior to delivery. There was also an association between low birth weight newborns and maternal anthropometric measurements such as weight, height, body mass index, and upper arm circumference.


Saudi women who had an increasing amount of stress during pregnancy, under weight and short stature have an increased risk of having low birth weight babies. More research is needed in different regions in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia by using the same test for stressor during pregnancy or even using different tests for measuring life stress during pregnancy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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