Published: 2021-05-25

Study on prevalence of maternal risk factors, morbidity and mortality in very low birth weight neonates

Ujjwala S. Keskar, Anjali H. Parekh


Background: Very low birth weight babies with respiratory complications are the commonest reason for admission in NICU. We wanted to identify maternal risk factors associated with it and ways to prevent it. The objective of the current study was to study the prevalence of maternal risk factors, morbidity and mortality in VLBW babies admitted in tertiary care hospital NICU.

Methods: Cross sectional observational study performed on all very low birth weight (VLBW) neonates admitted in neonatal intensive care unit of tertiary care hospital attached with Smt. Kashibai Navale medical college, Pune from January 2019 to March 2020.

Results: In our study VLBW babies were 2.2% (78/3545). Mean gestational age was 31.15±3.21 weeks; mean birth weight was 1226.24±250.95 grams. Small for gestational age (SGA) babies were 41% and 96% were preterm. Maternal risk factors were present in 61.53% of deliveries, commonest were anaemia in 30.06 % and preeclampsia in 24.35%. Resuscitation at birth was required in 30.76% babies. Morbidity profile showed respiratory distress syndrome in 46.15%, neonatal sepsis in 19.23% and patent ductus arteriosus in 16.66% babies. Overall survival was 74.35%. Prematurity and its complications like RDS requiring surfactant therapy and mechanical ventilation were significant contributors for mortality but only 23.07% mothers were found to have received antenatal steroids in the hospital .

Conclusions: Anaemia and preeclampsia were commonly found risk factors present in 61.53% of mothers of VLBW babies. Use of antenatal steroids in mothers should be made compulsory to decrease mortality in VLBW preterm newborns.


Very low birth weight, NICU, Neonatal mortality, Maternal risk factors

Full Text:



Koops BL, Morgan LJ , Battaglia FC. Neonatal mortality risk in relation to birth weight and gestation: Update. J Pediatr. 1982;101:969-77.

Richardson DK, Phibbs CS, Gray JE, Mccormick MC, Workman-Daniels K, Goldmann DA. Birth weight and illness severity: Independent predictors of neonatal mortality. Pediatrics. 1993;91:969-75.

Sehgal A, Telang S, Passah SM, Jyothi MC. Maternal and neonatal profile and immediate outcome in extremely low birth weight babies in Delhi. Trop Doct. 2004;34(3):165-8

Stephens BE, Vohr BR. Neurodevelopmental outcome of the premature infant. Pediatr Clin North Am. 2009;56: 631-46.

Eichenwald EC, Stark AR. Management and outcomes of very low birth weight. N Engl J Med. 2008;358(16):1700-11.

Lemons JA, Bauer CR, Oh W. Very low birth weight outcomes of the National institute of child health and human development neonatal research network, January 1995 through December 1996. Pediatrics. 2001;107:1-8

Naskar N, Swain A, Das KD, Patnayak AB. Maternal risk factors, complications and outcome of very low birth weight babies: prospective cohort study from a tertiary care centre in Odisha. J Neonatal Biol. 2014;3:142.

Fanaroff AA, Stoll BJ, Wright LL. Trend in neonatal morbidity and mortality for very low birth weight infants. Am J Obstet Gyncol. 2007;196(2):147-8.

Reduce child mortality, the millennium development goals report New York. Available at: high leve l/pdf/newsroom/Goal%204%20 FINAL.pdf. Accessed on 20 September 2020.

Ruegger C, Hegglin M, Adams M. Population based trends in mortality, morbidity and treatment for very preterm and very low birth weight infants over 12 years. BMC Pediatr. 2012;12:17

Mannan MA, Jahan N, Dey SK, Uddin MF, Ahmed S. Maternal and foetal risk factor and complication with immediate outcome during hospital stay of very low birth weight babies. Mymensingh Med J. 2012; 21:639-47.

Roy KK, Baruah J, Kumar S, Malhotra N, Deorari AK, Sharma JB. Maternal antenatal profile and immediate neonatal outcome in VLBW and ELBW Babies. Indian J Pediatr. 2006;73:669-73.

Abolfazl AS, Mohammad-Kazem S, Minoo F, Fatemeh E. Outcome of very low birth weight infants over 3 years report from an Iranian center. Iran J Pediatr. 2013;23(5): 579-87.

Sehgal A, Telang S, Passah SM, Jyothi MC. Maternal and neonatal profile and immediate outcome in ELBW babies. Pediatrics. 2003;40:991-5.

Manganaro R, Gemelli M, Mamì C, Mancuso A, Rizza ML. Analysis of factors associated with very low birth weight (less than or equal to 1500 g). Minerva Ginecol. 1991;43:283-6.

Lee HC, Gould JB. Survival advantage associated with cesarean delivery in very low birth weight vertex neonates. Obstrtric Gynecol. 2006;107(1):97-10.

Sritipsukho S, Suarod T, Sritipsukho P. Survival and outcome of very low birth weigth infants born in a university hospital with level II NICU. J Med Assoc Thai. 2007;90(7):1323-9.

Neubauer AP, Voss W, Kattner E. Outcome of extremely low birthweight survivors at school age: the influence of perinatal parameters on neurodevelopment. Eur J Pediatr. 2008;167: 87-95.

Reempts PV, Aelvoet W, Clercx A, Haumont D, Vanhaesebroeck P, François HV et al. The effect of being born in a tertiary center versus being outborn on short term outcome of VLBW admitted to one of the NICU’s in Belgium. A national survey. Report of the college of Physicians, Neonatal Section. Obstrtric Gynecol. 2009;58:65-9.

Prasin C, Kanokpan R, Waricha J, Supaporn D. Outcomes of very low birth weight infants in Songklanagarind hospital. J Med Assoc Thai. 2010; 93(2):191-8.

Bansal A, Chawla D. Mortality and morbidity profile of preterm very low birth weight infants: A prospective longitudinal observational study. Indian J Child Health. 2017;4(2):225-30.