Performance of Intergrowth 21st Growth Charts in the Diagnosis of Small and Large for Gestational Age in Term and Preterm Newborns

Bárbara Marques, Rosa Martins, Teresa Rodrigues, Graça Oliveira, Margarida Abrantes


Introduction: Birth weight is a major contributor to neonatal morbidity and mortality and is associated with chronic diseases in adulthood. This study aimed to evaluate the use of Intergrowth 21st instead of the Fenton & Kim 2013 growth charts in the diagnosis of small and large for gestational age in a group of Portuguese newborns.
Material and Methods: We conducted an analytical and retrospective study to evaluate birth weight of term and preterm newborns using both growth charts. Groups studied: ‘Term-weeks’ and ‘Term-days’ (term newborns with gestational age in weeks and days, respectively), ‘Preterm-weeks’ and ‘Preterm-days’ (preterm newborns with gestational age in weeks and days, respectively).
Results: A total of 14 056 newborns were included, 6% preterm. Using the Intergrowth 21st growth charts, the groups ‘Term-weeks’ (n = 12 081), ‘Term-days’ (n = 1118), ‘Preterm-weeks’ (n = 617) and ‘Preterm-days’ (n = 240), classified as small for gestational age according to the Fenton & Kim 2013 growth charts were adequate for gestational age in 52.8%, 57.8%, 37.7% and 9.3% respectively; and 9.2%, 9.2%, 5.9% and 0.6% of adequate for gestational age newborns were large for gestational age, respectively. In the ‘Pretermdays’ group, 7.9% of adequate for gestational age newborns were small for gestational age and 22.2% of large for gestational age newborns were adequate for gestational age, all with gestational age below 231 days.
Discussion: The use of the Intergrowth 21st growth charts in this sample resulted in a lower number of newborns being classified as small for gestational age, except in very preterm newborns.
Conclusion: Considering the results obtained, we suggest that Portuguese maternity hospitals use the Intergrowth 21st instead of the Fenton & Kim 2013 growth charts. However, more studies are needed to confirm these results.


Anthropometry; Birth Weight; Gestational Age; Growth Charts; Infant, Newborn; Infant, Premature; Portugal

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