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Ital J Pediatr. 2013 Apr 11;39:23. doi: 10.1186/1824-7288-39-23.

Intrauterine growth restriction and congenital malformations: a retrospective epidemiological study.

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  • 1Dipartimento di Scienze per la Promozione della Salute e Materno Infantile, Università degli Studi di Palermo, Palermo, Italy.



Intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) and small for gestational age (SGA) birth have been considered possible indicators of the presence of malformations. The aim of this study is to evaluate such relationships in a population of newborns, along with other epidemiological and auxological parameters, in particular the ponderal index (PI).


We analyzed the birth data of 1093 infants, classified according to weight for gestational age as SGA, appropriate for gestational age (AGA) or large for gestational age (LGA). The prevalence of malformations was analyzed in relation to weight percentile at birth and SGA birth, maternal smoking, pregnancy diseases and PI.


Our analysis showed no significant relationship between the prevalence of malformations and SGA birth. Maternal smoking and pregnancy diseases were strongly related to SGA birth, but not to a higher prevalence of malformations. PI, however, had a significant relationship with a higher prevalence of malformations, if analyzed as either a continuous variable or a categorical variable (cutoff: < 2.4).


The association between congenital malformations and birth weight for gestational age seems to be weak. As part of diagnostic screening for malformations in the neonatal period, PI could be considered a better predictor of risk than weight percentile.

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