Early Postnatal Growth Of Preterm Low Birth Weight, Appropriately-Sized Infants

  • OF Njokanma
  • MTC Egri-Okwaji
  • JO Babalola
Keywords: Postnatal Growth, Preterm, Low Birth Weight, Infants.


Background: Postnatal growth monitoring is useful in assessing the health of preterm babies but their growth patterns have not been sufficiently studied in Africans. Aim: To describe the growth achievements of preterm, low birth weight, appropriately-sized, Nigerian infants. Study design: The subjects were prospectively recruited from two centers Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital (January 1994 to June 1995) and Havana Specialist Hospital (June 1995 to June 1997). The weight, length and occipito-frontal circumference of 89 preterm, low birth weight, appropriate-fordates infants were monitored from birth until 53 post-conceptual weeks. Growth velocities were compared with 46 term infants. Results: Initial weight loss, age at regaining birth weight and growth rate in the early postnatal weeks were inversely related to gestational age. Subsequent weight gain was directly related to gestational age. Between birth and 40 weeks post conception, growth rates for different gestational age groups were 129 to 207g/week (weight), 0.78 to 0.93cm/week (length) and 0.62 to 0.65cm/week (head circumference). After 40 weeks, the corresponding rates were 188 to 238g/week, 0.86 to 0.96 cm week and 0.48 to 0.50cm/week, respectively. Head growth demonstrated a faster catch-up than weight and body length in that order. The observed growth rates were slower in some respects than Caucasian figures but faster than reported for the Japanese. Conclusion: Study subjects had growth patterns within previously defined ranges. The better profile of western babies is probably related to better infrastructure while the advantage over Asian babies is probably racial.

Keywords: Postnatal Growth, Preterm, Low Birth Weight, Infants.

Nigerian Journal of Clinical Practice Vol. 11 (2) 2008: pp. 104-110

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eISSN: 1119-3077