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      New Definition of Small for Gestational Age Based on Fetal Growth Potential

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          Accurate definition of small for gestational age (SGA) is essential for antenatal as well as postnatal care. SGA is associated with significant antenatal and postnatal pathology. The term, however, includes constitutional smallness, and it is essential to adjust for physiological variation in order to identify those babies who are pathologically small. Maternal height, weight, parity, ethnic origin and the baby’s gender have all been found to be significantly associated with normal variation in birth weight. These variables need to be adjusted for to calculate the true growth potential, which can be represented as individually customized fetal growth curves and birth weight percentiles (www.gestation.net). This method for calculating growth potential has been validated in a number of international studies. ‘Customized SGA’ defines neonates with intrauterine growth restriction, while ‘small-normal’ does not represent increased risk. Currently, coefficients are being developed for more ethnic groups, to broaden the international applicability of individualized standards. Work is also underway to incorporate the customized birth weight percentile as the starting point of infant growth curves.

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          Most cited references 11

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          Classification of stillbirth by relevant condition at death (ReCoDe): population based cohort study.

          To develop and test a new classification system for stillbirths to help improve understanding of the main causes and conditions associated with fetal death. Population based cohort study. West Midlands region. 2625 stillbirths from 1997 to 2003. Categories of death according to conventional classification methods and a newly developed system (ReCoDe, relevant condition at death). By the conventional Wigglesworth classification, 66.2% of the stillbirths (1738 of 2625) were unexplained. The median gestational age of the unexplained group was 237 days, significantly higher than the stillbirths in the other categories (210 days; P < 0.001). The proportion of stillbirths that were unexplained was high regardless of whether a postmortem examination had been carried out or not (67% and 65%; P = 0.3). By the ReCoDe classification, the most common condition was fetal growth restriction (43.0%), and only 15.2% of stillbirths remained unexplained. ReCoDe identified 57.7% of the Wigglesworth unexplained stillbirths as growth restricted. The size of the category for intrapartum asphyxia was reduced from 11.7% (Wigglesworth) to 3.4% (ReCoDe). The new ReCoDe classification system reduces the predominance of stillbirths currently categorised as unexplained. Fetal growth restriction is a common antecedent of stillbirth, but its high prevalence is hidden by current classification systems. This finding has profound implications for maternity services, and raises the question whether some hitherto "unexplained" stillbirths may be avoidable.
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            Customized fetal growth standards: rationale and clinical application.

             Jason Gardosi (2004)
            Accurate assessment of fetal growth status requires the definition of an optimal standard, which represents the growth potential of the baby. Against this standard, individually 'customized' percentiles can be calculated. They improve the distinction between normal and abnormal, and help in our understanding and diagnosis of pathological fetal growth. This method can be used as a tool for epidemiological analysis as well as for prospective clinical monitoring.
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              A customised birthweight centile calculator developed for a New Zealand population.

              Traditionally, small for gestational age is defined as birthweight <10th percentile using sex-adjusted centile charts. However, this criterion includes constitutional variation due to maternal height, weight, ethnic group and parity. To develop customised birthweight centiles for a New Zealand population. National Women's Hospital database of births from 1993 to 2000 was used to identify eligible women with singleton pregnancies who had data available on the following: scan result for dating at gestation <24 weeks, maternal height and weight at booking, parity and ethnic origin. Multiple regression was used to determine the coefficients applicable to New Zealand. A total of 4707 pregnancies met the inclusion criteria comprising: European 1688 (36.0%), Maori 419 (8.9%) Samoan 506 (10.7%), Tongan 326 (6.9%), Chinese 751 (16.0%), Indian 214 (4.6%) and other 803 (17.1%). Mean term birthweight for an average nulliparous European woman was 3530 g. Babies of Maori and Indian ethnicity were on average 67 g and 150 g lighter, respectively, than European babies. Samoan, Tongan and Chinese babies were 84 g, 124 g and 101 g heavier, respectively. There are significant differences in birthweight between European and the other major ethnic groups in New Zealand. They relate to maternal physiological variables, for which coefficients have been derived and incorporated into freely available software that enables improved clinical assessment of fetal and neonatal weight.

                Author and article information

                Horm Res Paediatr
                Hormone Research in Paediatrics
                S. Karger AG
                April 2006
                10 April 2006
                : 65
                : Suppl 3
                : 15-18
                West Midlands Perinatal Institute, Birmingham, UK
                91501 Horm Res 2006;65:15–18
                © 2006 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                Figures: 2, References: 20, Pages: 4
                Human Fetal Growth


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