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Growth Charts for Premature and Low Birth Weight Infants

Assessing Growth Parameters

Measurements for most preterm infants weighing 1500 grams or more at birth may be charted by chronologic age, with the adjusted age measurement alongside until age 2, in the 2000 WHO and CDC Growth Charts (CDC):
Although the World Health Organization (WHO) growth charts are recommended for use in term infants ages 0-24 months, the CDC has not evaluated their use for premature or very low-birth weight infants.

Based on data from two major studies, other growth charts are helpful for very low birth weight infants (<1500 grams at birth) [CDC: 2015]:
  • National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Neonatal Research Network Centers [Ehrenkranz: 1999] extend to 3 or 4 months of age
  • Infant Health and Development Program (IHDP) [Guo: 1997] [Roche: 1997] extend to age 36 months
  • Fetal-Infant Growth Charts from 22 Weeks GA to 66 or 92 Weeks Postconception Age [Lapillonne: 2013] - evaluates the growth adequacy during the first year of life in preterm infants according to sex (based on intrauterine growth measurements).

Resources

Helpful Articles

TeKolste T, Bragg J, Wendel S.
Extremely Low Birth Weight NICU Graduate.
2004; Washington State Department of Health, Children with Special Health Care Needs Program; https://depts.washington.edu/dbpeds/ELBW-NICU-Graduate.pdf
Supplement to: Low Birth Weight Neonatal Intensive Care Graduate. Specifically addresses post-NICU care of ELBW infants who: 1) experienced the usual complications associated with extreme prematurity and/or extreme low birth weight, and 2) were discharged home in a relatively healthy condition.

University of Washington and Mary Bridge Hospital and Health Center.
Low Birth Weight Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Graduate.
Washington State Consensus Project. Sept. 1998 / Updated 2005.
Education and support for health care providers, parents, third-party payers, and policy makers interested in care of low birth weight infants and children.

Authors & Reviewers

Initial publication: May 2015;
Current Authors and Reviewers:
Author: Jennifer Goldman-Luthy, MD, MRP, FAAP

Page Bibliography

CDC.
Growth patterns of children with special health care needs.
Health Resources and Services Administration: Maternal and Child health; (2015) https://depts.washington.edu/growth/cshcn/text/page2c.htm. Accessed on Jan. 5, 2015.
Section 2 of the training module for CDC Growth Charts for Children with Special Health Care Needs.

Ehrenkranz RA, Younes N, Lemons JA, Fanaroff AA, Donovan EF, Wright LL, Katsikiotis V, Tyson JE, Oh W, Shankaran S, Bauer CR, Korones SB, Stoll BJ, Stevenson DK, Papile LA.
Longitudinal growth of hospitalized very low birth weight infants.
Pediatrics. 1999;104(2 Pt 1):280-9. PubMed abstract / Full Text

Guo SS, Roche AF, Chumlea WC, Casey PH, Moore WM.
Growth in weight, recumbent length, and head circumference for preterm low-birth weight infants during the first three years of life using gestation-adjusted ages.
Early Hum Dev. 1997;47(3):305-25. PubMed abstract

Lapillonne A, O'Connor DL, Wang D, Rigo J.
Nutritional recommendations for the late-preterm infant and the preterm infant after hospital discharge.
J Pediatr. 2013;162(3 Suppl):S90-100. PubMed abstract

Roche AF, Guo SS, Wholihan K, Casey PH.
Reference data for head circumference-for-length in preterm low-birth-weight infants.
Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1997;151(1):50-7. PubMed abstract