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REVIEW ARTICLE
Year : 2013  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 33-37

Is maternal age risk factor for low birth weight?


Department of Community Medicine, Yenepoya Medical College, Yenepoya University, Mangalore, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
Radha Y Aras
Department of Community Medicine, Yenepoya Medical College, Yenepoya University, Mangalore - 575 018, Karnataka
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/2321-4848.113558

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Low birth weight (LBW) is a significant public health concern at global level. LBW is the outcome of interplay of multiple maternal factors. Maternal age is an important variable leading to LBW and preterm births. The literature review was done with extensive search from Medline, the Educational Resources Information Center, and the Combined Health Information Database for publications that identified the studies related to maternal age and birth weight. With exception of few studies which concluded that age did not significantly affect birth weight of newborns, majority of research indicated that a very young maternal age is causally implicated with an increased risk of having LBW and preterm births. Little research has been conducted on births to older mothers, even though such births are becoming increasingly common in developed countries. Advancing maternal age is associated with a decreased potential for fetal growth, possibly reflecting biological aging of maternal tissues and systems or the cumulative effects of disease. Results of multivariate analysis showed a U-shaped relationship between maternal age and LBW among whites, with the youngest (younger than 15) and the oldest (aged 40 and older) mothers being at high risk than 25-29 years old; older teenagers were not at any significantly higher risk. For the black, the risk of LBW rose steeply with maternal age (mothers aged 15-19 years are significantly lower risk than those of 25-29 years for LBW infants).


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