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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 21  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 181-188

Growth patterns of preterm infants: A prospective study in an indigenous African population

1 Department of Paediatrics, Mother and Child Hospital, Akure, Ondo State, Nigeria
2 Department of Child Health, University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Moses Temidayo Abiodun
Department of Child Health, University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Benin City, Edo State
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/smj.smj_14_18

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Background: Optimal growth of preterm infants reflects their overall health status; however, indigenous growth charts are rarely available to monitor them adequately in infancy. Objectives: The aim of this study was to describe growth patterns of preterm infants and to generate percentile charts as well as relevant predictive equations for expected weight-for-age in their various birth weight categories. Materials and Methods: This was a prospective, analytic study. Anthropometric measurements of eligible consecutive preterm babies were monitored biweekly/monthly in infancy. Temporal changes in body weights and occipitofrontal circumferences (OFCs) were presented graphically. The Pearson's correlation coefficient was done to derive predictive equations. LMS chartmaker light version 2.54 (Medical Research Council, UK) generated percentile charts. P < 0.05 was considered statistically significant. Results: A total of 154 preterm infants were recruited during the study period, with a male-to-female ratio of 1:1.5. Their mean gestational age (GA) was 31.3 ± 2.4 weeks, and mean birth weight was 1510.8 ± 347.5 g. Average daily weight gains were 9.4, 17.4, and 20.0 for extremely low birth weight (ELBW), very LBW (VLBW), and LBW, respectively, in the 1st month (F = 1.733, P = 0.183). The peak weight gain period occurred at the 4th month for ELBW (28.3 g/day), 5th month for VLBW (38.3 g/day), and 7th month for LBW (38.3 g/day). There was a strong positive correlation of their body weight with their postnatal age (y = 505.6x + 1511.5; R2 = 0.92) as well as OFC with age (y = 1.33x + 29.94; R2 = 0.94). Growth charts for weights and OFCs were generated showing 5th, 50th, and 95th percentiles. Conclusion: The preterm infants gained weight with increasing postnatal age following an initial weight loss in the early neonatal period. Their relative growth velocities were similar in all birth weight categories.

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