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Introduction: Birth weight often is used to predict how preterm infants will grow, but scant attention has been paid to the effect of neonatal morbidities on growth trajectories. We investigated birth weight and neonatal morbidity in preterm infants’ growth to age 12 years.

Method: A five-group, prospective, longitudinal study was conducted with 194 infants: 46 full term; 29 healthy preterm without morbidity; 56 preterm with medical illness (MPT); 34 preterm with neurologic illness; and 29 preterm small for gestational age (SGA). Height, weight, and body mass index were measured at six ages.

Results: The full-term group had greater height than the preterm groups to age 8 years, when healthy preterm and MPT groups caught up. Only the SGA group had smaller height at age 12 years. The MPT, preterm with neurologic illness, and SGA groups had lower weight through age 12 years. Body mass index was appropriate for preterm groups by age 4 years. Across time, neonatal morbidity had a significant effect on height and weight trajectories. Birth weight was significant for weight trajectories only.

Discussion: With variation in growth trajectories, details of neonatal morbidity in health history interviews will inform child health assessments.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.