Clinical profile of low birth babies in NICU: a rural tertiary care hospital based study

Mrudul Kumar, Keerti Swarnkar, Jayant Vagha


Background: The low birth weight (LBW) infant remains at much higher risk of mortality than the infant at normal weight at birth. In the neonatal period when most infant deaths occur, the proportion of low birth weight infants is the major determinant of the magnitude of mortality rates. Mortality and morbidity among low birth weight babies are a major public health problem in our country. It is important to identify risk factors associated with LBW babies.

Methods: Prospective observational study was conducted on 222 neonates with low birth weight admitted in Neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) of Acharya Vinoba Bhave Rural Hospital, Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College, Sawangi Meghe, Wardha from September 2015 to August 2017. Maternal risk factors and neonatal morbidities were recorded. The study was designed to assess the risk factors of LBW babies and their short-term outcome.

Results: 222 low birth weight babies were studied, among which 36(16.22%) were weighed less than 1500 grams and 186 (83.78%) were 1500-2500 grams. The most common maternal risk factors which were associated with very low birth weight were low socio-economic status, occupations with more strenuous activity, low maternal educational status, poor antenatal care, poor pregnancy weight gain and chronic illnesses. Anemia was present in 99 (44.595%) mothers. Among other risk factors during pregnancy oligohydramnios was present in 43 (19.369%) mothers, followed by preeclampsia in 42 (18.918%) mothers and pyrexia in 31 (13.963%) mothers. 166 (74.76%) babies are small for gestational age (SGA) babies. Overall mortality rate was 40.54%.

Conclusions: Most of LBW babies are SGA babies. Low socio-economic status, low maternal educational status and poor antenatal care were the important risk factors. Morbidity and mortality of low birth weight babies could be reduced considerably by proper health education, improved antenatal care, prompt identification of high risk pregnancies, proper referral, better nursing care and management.


Low birth weight, Maternal risk factors, Neonatal intensive care unit, Outcome

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