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Study of birth weight in 457 babies bom in the de Soysa Maternity Hospital University Unit, Colombo, Ceylon, shows that the majority of low birth weight newborn were gestationally mature. Their distribution by maternal parity suggests that parity enhances the growth of the foetus up to a point where maternal resources can no longer provide a favourable intrauterine environment. There is no association of birth weight with maternal age independent of parity. Maternal height and weight exert an appreciable effect on birth weight, which is also associated with family income level. Low birth weight tends to recur in sibships. There is a lower incidence of congenital abnormalities in the low birth weight infants. There are characteristic morbidity and mortality patterns.