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Prevalence and Predictors of Low Birth Weight in a Rural Guatemalan Community

Author(s): Emily S Himes, Claudia Rivera, Amy S Nacht, Saskia Bunge-Montes, Andrea Jimenez-Zambrano, Gretchen Heinrichs, Antonio Bolanos, Edwin Asturias, Stephen Berman, Margo S Harrison

Background: The intention of our study was to establish the prevalence of low birth weight (LBW) as well as risk factors for LBW in infants born to a convenience sample of women enrolled in a home visitation maternal care program associated with the Center for Human Development in Southwest Trifinio, Guatemala.

Methods: This is an observational study analyzing self-reported data from a quality improvement database. We recorded the distribution of birth-weights of infants born to women enrolled in Madres Sanas that delivered between October 2018 and December 2019. We grouped women by LBW (<2500g ) and adequate birthweight (≥2500g) infants, and performed bivariate comparisons using socio-demographic, obstetric, and intrapartum data. Using the independent variables shown to have an associ-ation with LBW, we then performed a multivariable analysis.

Results: There were 226 births among our program participants, 218 with recorded birthweights. The median birthweight was 3175g; 13.8% were LBW (<2500g), higher than Guatemala’s average of 10.9%. Through our bivariate analysis, we determined women with LBW infants were younger, with a median age of 20.8 (IQR [17.8-23.7]) compared to a median age of 23.2 (IQR [19.8-27.3]) among women with infants ≥2500g (P=0.03). Women with LBW infants were also more likely to have fewer than 4 prenatal visits (33.3% vs 19.3%, P=0.04).

Conclusion: Two significant findings emerged from our analysis: LBW infants were more commonly born to women who were younger in age and who had received fewer than 4 prenatal visits. These findings are consistent with existing literature on LBW in Latin America. Our study helps to strengthen the data around these associations and gives credence to programming and policy efforts in Latin America that support adequate prenatal care for all and youth education about reproductive health and contra-ceptive access.

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