This study (Nagoya J. Med. Sci. 72. 51 ~ 58, 2010) shows that mother’s health and nutrition are factors in babies being born with low birth rates.
Mothers who demonstrated a good grasp of nutrition and health delivered LBW infants 10.1 less frequently than mothers who showed more limited knowledge…
While considering the health status of mothers, it was found that those in poor health had LBW infants 3.4 times more often than healthy mothers.
Other issues like family support also play a role:
…In the traditional society of Lao PDR, women have little independence to decide their own future. For a pregnant mother to get medical support, she must wait for the decision of her husband or other family members before consulting a medical doctor for a check-up of her pregnancy status. The necessity of a nutritious diet and the extent of its availability is, except in some rare situations, again dependent on the wishes of the family.
“Hypertension and proteinuria leading to pre-eclampsia” was found in the study to be the cause of 20-25% of prenatal mortalities.
The results of this study showed that the maternal factors significantly associated with LBW infants included the mother’s age and occupation, her knowledge and health status, and the family’s income. It may not be possible to address all these issues at once, but early and regular antenatal visits by prospective mothers and conducting awareness programs through the mass
media focusing on proper care during pregnancy could alleviate many of these problems.