Background: Birth weight is an important determinant of neonatal and child health outcome. For instance, evidence has shown
that low birth weight (LBW) has a negative impact on the baby’s growth, cognitive development, and on neuro-motor development
and immune function. Underweight babies are prone to increased risk of infections and stunting. LBW remains prevalent worldwide
and is more pronounced in low- and middle-income countries. Several factors including mothers’ socio-economic characteristics,
maternal health behaviors and maternal and pregnancy health conditions determine birth weight outcome. This study sought to
determine the prevalence and investigate determinants of LBW among Burundian women of reproductive age.
Methods: This study used data extracted from the 2016-2017 National Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) conducted on
7047 women who reported a live birth history in the five years preceding the survey and whose birth weight was recorded at
childbirth. The study used linear regression to explore socio-economic, maternal, and pregnancy related factors that determine
birth weight and further employed a logistic model to unpack factors with higher likelihood of LBW. Results: Of 7,047 babies born between 2012 and 2017, 660 (10%) were underweight. Findings suggested that birth weight
decreases with older women’s age, multiple pregnancies (twin or triplet), and female babies. Conversely, birth weight increases
with a diabetes condition, wealthier quintiles, and higher party orders. Results from the linear regression were supported by those
implemented in the discrete model. In fact, higher parity orders and wealthier women were more likely to deliver normal weight
babies. High blood pressure, smoking, multiple pregnancies, and female child’s sex were negative predictors of normal birth weight.
For instance, twin babies were twice more likely to be underweight compared to single pregnancies.
Conclusion: This study unpacked high prevalence of LBW in Burundi and further highlighted areas of improvement to deliver
on global neonatal and child health targets.
Results: From this work could be used to implement targeted interventions to reduce poverty, tackle chronic conditions in
pregnancy, and reduce tobacco use among pregnant women as the above predicted LBW. Other interventions include modern
contraception through health educational programs.