To determine whether maternal risk factors associated with the delivery of very low birth weight infants under 1501 g are different from those associated with low birth weight infants of 1501 to 2500 g, prenatal data on 12,247 deliveries were evaluated. The sample contained 302 very low birth weight infants. Maternal race, age, height, weight, gravidity, parity, past pregnancy performance, and pregnancy complications were analyzed. Factors related to very low birth weight but not to low birth weight infants were previous abortions, previous fetal deaths, and hypertensive vascular disease. Race, maternal height, and prepregnancy weight were not related to very low birth weight but were associated with an increase in low birth weight. There was no significant difference in the rate of very low birth weight or low birth weight by maternal age from 14 to 40 years. These results contradict the concept of a uniform set of predisposing factors for birth of all infants weighing 2500 g or less.
© 1982 The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists