Increased Low Birth Weight Risk among Public Prenatal Care Users – Correlation or Causality?

Zsuzsanna Veroszta , Hungarian Demographic Research Institute
Julianna Boros, Hungarian Demographic Research Institute

Low birth weight (LBW) is defined as a birth weight of less than 2500 g. LBW is an important indicator of maternal health, nutrition, healthcare delivery, and poverty. Children with LBW have increased risk of having chronic diseases as well as impaired development. The causes of LBW are multifactorial, among the most common socio-biological factors are the maternal age, weight, height, education, parity, antenatal care, and maternal smoking. Our objective was to determine if there is a relationship between public prenatal health care use and low birth weight in singleton pregnancies. Methods: “Cohort ’18 – Growing Up in Hungary” is a nationally representative birth cohort study started in 2018. First wave of the survey was conducted in the 7th month of the pregnancy, the second wave 6 month after the childbirth. The number of participants was 8,500 of which 7% was low birth weight baby. In order to identify the independent role of the public/private prenatal health care use for LBW, we built a model with socio-demographic (maternal age, marital status, parity, education, employment), health-related (chronic illness, underweight) and health behaviour (smoking/passive smoking, alcohol consumption, taking folic acid, dental check) variables. Results: According to the logistic regression analysis, LBW is strongly associated with maternal smoking during pregnancy, being underweight before pregnancy, financial difficulties and low education level of the mother. However, the role of public health care use during pregnancy was not statistically significant. Conclusions: Public prenatal care use showed no higher risk of LBW in Hungary.

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 Presented in Session P2. Poster Session Ageing, Health and Mortality