The Effects of Pregnancy Wantedness and Depressive Symptoms during Pregnancy on Low Birth Weight at Term: Evidence from a Prospective Study in Southwestern Ethiopia

Yohannes Dibaba Wado, Jimma University
Mesganaw F. Afework, Addis Ababa University

This study examines the independent and joint effects of unwanted pregnancy and prenatal depression on the risk of low birth weight in rural southwestern Ethiopia.Data for the study comes from a prospective study in which women were followed from pregnancy through to delivery. Six hundred twenty two women were followed and birth weight of 537 births was measured. The mean birth weight was 2989, and the incidence of LBW was 17.88%. The association of unwanted pregnancy and prenatal depression with low birth weight was attenuated after adjusting for socio-demographic and related factors. After testing for interaction, we found that the relationship was mediated by the presence of antenatal depression. Other factors that were significantly associated with low birth weight included wealth status, antenatal care use, maternal MUAC size and availability of social support during pregnancy. Identifying women’s pregnancy intention and providing appropriate counseling and social support will help improve birth outcomes.

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Presented in Poster Session 3: Health of Women, Children, and Families