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J Paediatr Child Health. 2012 Sep;48(9):759-67. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1754.2012.02534.x.

Growth monitoring of low birthweight infants: what references to use?

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  • 1Mothers and Babies Research Theme, Mater Medical Research Institute, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.


Growth charts are the mainstay of monitoring growth in babies who were born small or preterm. A variety of different charts are available, each with specific limitations. Most birthweight centile charts underestimate growth restriction in preterm babies and there are few good charts for monitoring longitudinal growth in preterm babies; it is important to be aware of the limitations of using cross-sectional data for monitoring longitudinal growth. Customised centile charts of fetal growth are used increasingly for antenatal monitoring for small-for-gestational age fetuses despite a lack of robust evidence. It is also unclear whether customised centile charts should be used for assessing birthweight, particularly in babies born at term. Faltering post-natal growth in preterm babies is very common but need not be universal with close attention to nutrition. Monitoring of growth trajectories through infancy following either fetal growth restriction or post-natal faltering growth is important to ensure proportional growth, particularly during periods of accelerated growth. This review will discuss these issues in the context of current practice in Australia and New Zealand.

© 2012 The Authors. Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health © 2012 Paediatrics and Child Health Division (Royal Australasian College of Physicians).

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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