Objective In Vietnam, past research has demonstrated that female farmers are at a three times increased risk for delivering a low birth weight (LBW) infant. Nevertheless, there have not yet been studies focused on the characteristics of female farmers that may predispose them to LBW deliveries.
Methods Using secondary analysis, this cross-sectional study compared the characteristics of 103 farming and 253 non-farming women in order to identify possible factors that could lead to the differences observed in pregnancy outcomes. Exposure was defined as having the occupation of a farmer while non-exposure was classified as having occupations other than farming. These two groups were derived from the control group of the original LBW study, excluding cases (women who delivered LBW infants).
Results This study's results indicated that female farmers were more likely to be less educated (OR: 7.7, 95% CI: 3.7, 16.1), have partner's who were also less educated (OR: 4.0, 95% CI: 1.9, 8.5), be unmarried (OR: 3.7, 95% CI: 0.8, 17.8), and reside in a rural location (OR: 14.7, 95% CI: 8.4, 26.0). In terms of anthropomorphic characteristics, farmers had lower pre-pregnancy weight (OR: 2.0, 95% CI: 1.1, 3.7), BMI (OR: 1.8, 95% CI: 0.9, 3.6), and rate of gestational weight gain. Compared to non-farmers, more farmers also had not intended for this pregnancy (OR: 4.7, 95% CI: 1.6, 13.7). During the pregnancy, farmers utilized less antenatal visits and had a shorter duration of folic acid intake (2.8 ± 1.8 months versus 3.4 ± 1.4 months in non-farmers).
Conclusions Our results highlight the possible factors that may influence the elevated incidence of LBW deliveries among farming women, providing a preliminary direction for the policies and programs that need to be implemented to assist the needs of this unique population.
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