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September 20, 1985

Predictors of Low and Very Low Birth Weight and the Relation of These to Cerebral Palsy

Author Affiliations

From the Developmental Neurology Branch and Biometry and Field Studies Branch, National Institute of Neurological and Communicative Disorders and Stroke, Bethesda, Md.

JAMA. 1985;254(11):1473-1479. doi:10.1001/jama.1985.03360110063025

In a large prospective study, we investigated predictors of moderately low (1,501 to 2,500 g) and very low (<1,501 g) birth weight. Maternal age, height, and socioeconomic status, related to moderately low birth weight on univariate analysis, were not on multivariate analysis significant predictors for either low-birth-weight outcome. The leading predictors of very low birth weight were low weight (<2,000 g) of last live birth, fetal malformation, nonwhite race, early vaginal bleeding, cigarette smoking, and chorionitis. Some of these were also predictors of moderately low birth weight. About 20% of births under 1,501 g could be attributed to chorionitis, a characteristic of less than 3% of the births. Of the major predictors of low birth weight, only prolonged rupture of membranes, chorionitis, and congenital malformations contributed to the risk of cerebral palsy beyond their contribution to the risk of low birth weight.

(JAMA 1985;254:1473-1479)