Growth pattern of low birth weight babies in the first year of life
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Objective: The growth pattern of low birth weight (LBW) babies was studied prospectively in our hospital from September 1995 to august 1996.Method: Every baby <1.5 kg birth weight (B.Wt), every 2nd baby between 1.5 to 2 kg, every 6th baby between 2to 2.5 kg and 120 term appropriate for gestation (AGA) babies ( as controls) were included in the study. Severe birth asphyxia, multiple gestation, major malformations or severe birth trauma formed exclusion criteria. Weight, length and head circumference were measured in all babies at birth and at 2 monthly intervals till 1 year of age. All babies completing 1 year follow-up were included for final analysis. Growth distance curves were constructed separately for each parameter for the six categories based on birth weight (Groups I-VI) and on gestational age (Divisions A-F). Comparison was made between the LBW babies and the controls for growth pattern among the babies who completed 1 year follow up (total of 220 babies).Result: The growth pattern for weight and length showed good catch up growth in babies >1.25 kg B.Wt. and >30 weeks gestation, reaching almost the same level as controls by 1 year of age. Babies with B.Wt <1.25 kg and <30 weeks gestation showed late and poor catch up growth, with considerable lag persisting at 1 year of age. Head circumference increased rapidly in all babies, with maximal growth rate initially followed by a steady decline. All babies showed catch up growth, although those <1.25 kg and <30 weeks gestation still lagged behind even at 1 year.Conclusion: It was seen that the smallest and least mature babies had late and poor catch up growth. Recognition of the factors influencing catch up growth and adequate measures to improve growth (like attention to feeding practices) may improve the overall outcome of these babies.
Key wordsLow birth weight Growth First year
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