Family Status and Low Birth Weight Risk: Trends and Changes over Time
Jitka Rychtarikova, Charles University in Prague
Unmarried mothers are often considered to be more likely to deliver a low birth weight baby. The proposed research focuses on examining changes in low birth weight over time (1986-2010) across three groups of live births: children born to unmarried women, those coming from premarital conceptions, and children conceived after marriage. In addition, the effect of a father’s presence on the frequency of low birth weight will be examined among extramarital births. The data are individual anonymous records of vital statistics. Multiple births are the known risk factor for low birth weight. Old age (40+), low education, first and higher birth orders as well as being born out of wedlock are also associated with low birth weight. Surprisingly, the time trend (across calendar years) disappeared after adjustment for other variables in the model. The support provided by the baby‘s father during pregnancy decreases the likelihood of delivering a low birth weight baby.