Antenatal care attendance and low birth weight of institutional births in sub-Saharan Africa

Alirah Emmanuel WEYORI, Abdul-Aziz SEIDU, Richard Gyan ABOAGYE, Francis ARTHUR-HOLMES, Joshua OKYERE*, Bright Opoku AHINKORAH

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

Abstract

Background
Low birth weight (LBW) remains a major health problem that affects newborns worldwide. However, there has been growing evidence that antenatal care (ANC) is associated with LBW. Yet, there is a dearth of research investigating the association between ANC attendance and LBW in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). This study examined the association between the number of ANC visits and LBW using data from 10 sub-Saharan African countries.

Methods
This study pooled data from the recent Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) of 10 sub-Saharan African countries conducted from 2018 to 2020. A total of 33,585 women aged 15–49 who had live births in the five years preceding the survey were included in this study. Bivariable and multivariable multilevel regression models were fitted to show the association between the number of ANC visits and LBW. Crude odds ratio (cOR) and adjusted odds ratio (aOR) at 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were used in presenting the results of the regression analysis.

Results
The pooled prevalence of LBW was 5.7%. The highest prevalence of LBW was recorded in Gambia (7.2%) with the lowest found in Sierra Leone (2.9%). In terms of eight or more ANC visits, the overall prevalence was 14.5%. Nigeria had the highest prevalence of eight or more ANC visits (43.5%) with the lowest in Rwanda (0.2%). We found a statistically significant association between the number of ANC visits and LBW. Mothers who had eight or more ANC visits were less likely to have LBW children compared to mothers who had less than eight ANC visits [cOR = 0.66; CI = 0.55 – 0.79] and this persisted after controlling for the covariates [aOR = 0.68; CI = 0.56 – 0.82]. Covariates associated with LBW were maternal age, marital status, level of education, age of child, and wealth index.

Conclusion
This study has shown a statistically significant association between ANC and LBW in SSA, with women who had eight or more ANC visits being at lower risks of giving birth to children with LBW. We found that eight or more ANC attendance was a protective factor against LBW in SSA. Therefore, it is important for sub-Saharan African countries with low prevalence of eight or more ANC attendance and high LBW prevalence to channel their efforts towards promoting more ANC attendance.
Original languageEnglish
Article number283
JournalBMC Pregnancy and Childbirth
Volume22
Issue number1
Early online date5 Apr 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 5 Apr 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We are grateful to MEASURE DHS project for giving us for free access to the original data.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s).

Keywords

  • Antenatal care
  • Institutional births
  • Low birth weight
  • Sub-Saharan African countries

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