Low birth weight among adolescents at Cape Coast Metropolitan Hospital of Ghana

James Afriyie, Kweku Bedu-Addo, Ernest Amponsah Asiamah, Solomon Twum Boateng


Background: Few studies have focused on low birth weight among adolescents. This study determines the incidence and factors associated with low birth weight (LBW) (weight at birth of less than 2,500 grams) among adolescents (aged <20 years) and how they differ from those in adult mothers (aged ≥20 years).

Methods: The records of 768 deliveries at a hospital in Ghana from August 2014 to March 2015 were analyzed. Frequencies and percentages were generated. Bivariate relationships between maternal and neonatal characteristics and LBW were assessed using Chi-squared test. Multivariate logistic regression was used to evaluate the association between maternal age (being adolescent) and LBW. Odds ratios with 95% confidence interval were generated, and p < 0.05 was considered significant.

Results: The incidence of LBW among adolescents was 14.3% and this was higher than the one among babies born to adult mothers (14.3 % vs. 7.4 %, p <0.013). Adolescent mothers were twice as likely to give birth to babies with LBW compared to adult mothers (OR 2.22; 95% CI: 1.16 - 4.25). Preterm birth was significantly associated with LBW among adolescent and adult mothers.

Conclusions: Adolescents are at a higher risk of giving birth to babies of LBW than adults. Factors predicting LBW may not be different for adolescent and adult mothers. Interventions for prevention of negative sexual health outcomes should focus on adolescents.


Adolescent, Cape coast, Low birth weight, Risk factors

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