To identify and quantify risk factors for preterm and term low birthweight (LBW) we conducted a hospital-based case-control study, linked with a population survey in Ahmedabad, India. The case-control study of 673 term LBW, 644 preterm LBW cases and 1465 controls showed that low maternal weight. poor obstetric history, lack of antenatal care, clinical anaemia and hypertension were significant independent risk factors for both term and preterm LBW. Short interpregnancy interval was associated with an increased risk of preterm LBW birth while primiparous women had increased risk of term LBW. Muslim women were at a reduced risk of term LBW, but other socioeconomic factors did not remain significant after adjusting for these more proximate factors. Estimates of the prevalence of risk factors from the population survey was used to calculate attributable risk. This analysis suggested that a substantial proportion of term and preterm LBW births may be averted by improving maternal nutritional status, anaemia and antenatal care.
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