Desarrollo y Sociedad
Print version ISSN 0120-3584
This study investigates the impact of risk factors on birthweight in the main maternity hospital in Uruguay, Centro Hospitalario Pereira Rossell. The data are provided by the Latin American Center for Perinatology and cover the years 1995 to 2004. The study finds that most of the included risk factors are significant predictors of both birthweight and the probability of a low-birthweight birth. As expected, risk factors that can be influenced by public policy (prenatal care usage, education, and smoking) have significant effects on birthweight outcomes; however, the results indicate that epidemiological risk factors that are less easily affected by public policy (previous low-birthweight births and short pregnancy interval) have similar effects on birthweight outcomes. Thus, although it is important to increase prenatal care usage and maternal educational attainment and to decrease maternal smoking in order to improve birthweight outcomes in Uruguay, it is also important for policymakers to consider ways to reduce the occurrence of epidemiological risk factors.
Keywords : prenatal care; risk factors; birthweight.