Predicting low birth weight and small-for-gestational age

Performance of an anthropometric assessment method as a predictor of low birthweight and being small for gestational age

Carvalho Padilha et al., JHND Early View


The present study aimed to evaluate the performance of the method proposed in 2009 by the Institute of Medicine for the anthropometric assessment of pregnant women, predicting perinatal outcomes: adequacy of birthweight, adequacy of birthweight according to gestational age [small for gestational age (SGA), large for gestational age (LGA)] and gestational and neonatal complications.


The study comprised a cross-sectional study involving 827 post-partum women (>20 years) who were treated in a public maternity hospital in the city of Rio de Janeiro. Data collection occurred by interviews and record consultation. Adequacy of weight gain during pregnancy was determined as being insufficient and excessive for the recommended range according to nutritional status category. Odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were estimated for logistic regression.


Some 36.2% of women initiated gestation with some weight deviation. The prevalence of the outcomes studied was 4.6% (n = 35) for low birthweight, 3.7% (n = 31) for SGA, 5.7% (n = 47) for LGA, 45.2% (n = 374) for pregnancy complications and 15.2% (n = 85) for neonatal complications. For women with insufficient weight gain, the new recommendation indicated a correlation in the prediction of low birthweight (OR = 3.76, 95% CI = 1.53–9.21), SGA newborns (OR = 5.77, 95% CI = 2.10–15.8) and gestational complications (OR = 1.72, 95% CI = 1.20–2.48).


The method evaluated demonstrated a better sensitivity and specificity for the main outcomes related to insufficient weight gain (low birthweight and SGA). Regarding excessive foetal growth (LGA), gestational and neonatal complications demonstrated sensitivity for an intermediate value.

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