Date of Award


Document Type




First Advisor

Rosemary Harkins- Carter

Second Advisor

Donna Thomas

Third Advisor

Eddie Carr


Studies show that numerous and complex variables influence pregnancy outcomes and infant mortality rates. These variables include demographic, medical, physical, environmental, behavioral, and attitudinal factors and prenatal care. Improving the health of mothers and infants is a national challenge. In 1987, more than 3.8 million infants were born in the United States. Of these, 38,408 died before their first birthday. Although the infant mortality rate is at an all-time low, the pace of progress has slowed. According to Dr. Robert Deppen of the Oklahoma State Health Department, "In 1992, Oklahoma ranked 29th in the United States for infant mortality and 21st for low birth weight. For that year there were 404 infant deaths (White - 297, Black - 79, Indian - 24, Other - 3, and no race given - 1 ) - " Very low birth weight is considered under 1500g. The total number of births for 1993 was 46,165. Births for the Caucasian race numbered 36,010. Of those, 334 infants exhibited very low birth weight, and 1,861 had low birth weight. The total number of African American births was 4,923. Of those, 148 had very low birth weight and 457 low birth weight. Indian births totaled 4,412; of those, 30 had very low birth weight, and 191 low birth weight. The number of Indian infant deaths recorded is falsely low because Indians are considered white. Infants of other races totaled 737; of those 7 had very low birth weight, 35 low birth weight. A total of eighty-three infants were born for which the race was not recorded, and of those, none had very low birth weight, and 2 had low birth weight. The total number of births to teens (under 20 years old) was 7,800. Of that number, 111 had very low birth weight and 542 low birth weight.

Even though the number of low birth weight infants is an all time low, there continues to be a problem. The literature reveals that certain risk factors correlate with low birth weight. These risk factors all relate to the lifestyle of the mother-to-be.

The purpose of this study is to determine how many women participating in this study from a given area in which disadvantaged individuals who have low income live are at risk for giving birth to a low birth weight infant.