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Factors Associated with Low Birth Weight of Children among Employed Mothers in Pakistan
Authors: Sara Rizvi Jafree, Rubeena Zakar, and Muhammad Zakria Zakar
Source: Maternal and Child Health Journal, 19(9): 1993-2002; DOI: 10.1007/s10995-015-1708-z
Topic(s): Birth weight
Maternal health
Country: Asia
Published: SEP 2015
Abstract: Evidence shows that Pakistan has an increasing rate of children with low birth weight (LBW). Employed mothers in paid work (EMPW) in the country have predominantly been disadvantaged in terms of access to education and low-income employment; with negative consequences on maternal and child health. The objective of this study was to determine socio-demographic characteristics of EMPW and identify the association between maternal employment and child birth weight in Pakistan. Secondary data from the Pakistan Demographic Health Survey (PDHS) conducted for the year 2006-2007 was used. PDHS is a nationally representative household survey. Relevant data needed from the PDHS data file were coded and filtered. The sample size of EMPW with at least one child born in the last 5 years was 2,515. Data was analyzed by using SPSS. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used to see the association between EMPW characteristics and LBW. Findings confirm that the majority of EMPW in Pakistan are illiterate, poor, employed in unskilled work, and belonging to rural regions. Multivariate regression analysis revealed statistical association between EMPW and LBW among mothers who did not receive prenatal care from unskilled healthcare provider (AOR 1.92; 95% CI 1.12-3.30), had lack of access to information such as radio (AOR 1.88; 95% CI 1.28-2.77), during pregnancy did not receive calcium (AOR 1.19; 95% CI 1.05-1.34), and iron (AOR 1.33; 95% CI 1.05-1.69), had experienced headaches during pregnancy (AOR 1.41; 95% CI 1.12-1.76), and were not paid in cash for their work (AOR 1.41; 95% CI 1.04-1.90). EMPW in Pakistan, especially in low-income jobs and rural regions, need urgent support for healthcare awareness, free supplementation of micronutrients and frequent consultation with trained practitioner during the prenatal period. Long-term mobilization of social structure and governance is needed to encourage maternal health awareness, hospital deliveries, and formal sector employment for EMPW.