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Horm Res. 2006;65 Suppl 3:75-81. Epub 2006 Apr 10.

Growth and the premature baby.

Author information

1
Jessop Wing, Sheffield, UK. Alan.Gibson@sth.nhs.uk

Abstract

There is considerable evidence to show that babies born prematurely have poor postnatal growth, and the more premature the baby, the greater the impairment is likely to be and the longer it will persist. Nutrition has been shown to play an important part in this, but adequate nutrition is difficult, if not impossible, to achieve in these infants. In the most immature infants, growth retardation may continue for many months and catch-up may be delayed and incomplete. Evidence from long-term studies suggests that preterm infants will be shorter and lighter than term controls and that reduced stature and head size may be linked with lower intelligence. Although there is evidence linking better growth to better neurodevelopmental outcome, with reports suggesting that this can be achieved with dietary manipulation, there are also data that suggest that there could be a link between increased postnatal growth and increased morbidity and mortality in later childhood and adult life. Here, we provide an overview of current understanding of growth impairment in infants born prematurely and the effects in later life.

PMID:
16612118
DOI:
10.1159/000091510
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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