Document Type



The impact of some maternal factors on birth weight and on length of gestation was investigated in a group of Istanbul women of low socioeconomic level and their infants. Reported values for prepregnancy body weight and postpartum measurements of stature, weight, mid-upper arm circumference showed that the women in this series did not have caloric undernutrition, while nearly 9% were of low stature. Anthropomet­ric measurements of the infants, the frequency of low birth weight (LBW) and of small for gestational age births agreed with those reported for affluent societies. Maternal stature, postpartum body weight and postpartum weight/height2 values were found to be important determinants of birth weight. Frequency of preterm births was relatively high, but not found to be related to maternal stature, weight/height2 ratio or mid-upper arm circum­ference. A higher frequency of LBW was found among infants of hyperten­sive mothers. Smoking during pregnancy encountered in a small number of women in this series could not be shown to have a significant effect on birth weight. Low birth weight, preterm birth and fetal malnutrition are among major risk factors influencing perinatal, neonatal and postneonatal mor­tality and morbidity. Global figures indicate a high incidence of low birth weight (LBW) babies for developing countries. It is also reported that the majority of LBW babies in such countries are born at term, the state of fetal malnutrition being mainly due to poor maternal health and nutrition before or during pregnancy (Bergner and Susser 1970; Hytten and Leitch 1971; National Center for Health Statistics 1972; Malcolm 1974; Metcoff 1978; World Health Statistics Quarterly 1980; Shah 1983).Information on birth weight, incidence of LBW and of preterm births are not included in the official health statistics in Turkey. Limited studies indicate that mean birth weight in Turkish infants is comparable to Western European and North American standards (Babson, Berman and Lessel 1970; Brandt 1978; Hamill et al. 1979; Ozalp et al. 1981; Neyzi et al. 1985).This study, carried out on mother-infant pairs in obstetric hospitals in Istanbul, was designed to investigate the impact of some maternal param­eters on pregnancy outcome as well as to provide information on birth weight, incidence of LBW, of preterm birth and of small for gestational age (SGA) birth.