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Paediatr Perinat Epidemiol. 2005 May;19(3):215-26.

Anthropometric measurements for neonates, 23 to 29 weeks gestation, in the 1990s.

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Division of Neonatology, Pediatrics and Human Development, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA.


Reference data describing weight, length, and head circumference (anthropometric measurements) at birth were published by Lubchenco and Usher before 1970. Few attempts have been made to investigate whether these data are appropriate for today's cohort of preterm neonates. We analysed anthropometric data for neonates born between 23 and 29 weeks' gestation. Reference charts were developed from the measurements obtained from neonatal records, and gestational age, obtained from maternal charts, on 975 neonates delivered at four neonatal centres in Michigan during 1992 and 1997. The analysis was confined to children with gestational age that was consistent or within 7 days by last menstrual period, obstetric examination, ultrasound and neonatal determinations. At 23 to 29 weeks' gestation, ethnicity and multiple births did not have any significant impact on birthweight but girls were lighter. We compared our anthropometric charts with those presently being used at many neonatal centres. In our study, physical measurements at birth of preterm neonates born between 1992 and 1997 were significantly different from those currently used to assess growth status. Furthermore data derived from published studies that utilised birth certificates with gestational age based on last menstrual period seem to overestimate birthweight. For preterm infants, our findings are concordant with recently published values from 18 states of the US. Because of improved survival, gestational age assessment and perinatal care of preterm neonates, development of new reference anthropometric measurements for neonates is overdue. Our Michigan data of 23-29 weeks preterm provides new national reference values, which we recommend for use in US neonatal centres for extremely preterm neonates.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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