Infants born preterm are at high risk for poor growth achievement. Small for gestational age (SGA (birth weight below the 10th percentile) preterm infants are even more prone to develop postnatal growth retardation in the early neonatal period, as they do not have a large storage of protein/energy. Both SGA and appropriate for gestational age (AGA: birth weight between the 10th and 90th percentiles) infants show persistent postnatal growth failure after discharge. Although the available data clearly demonstrate that preterm infants, especially if born SGA, exhibit postnatal growth retardation at the time of hospital discharge, the importance of the nutritional post discharge management has not been sufficiently taken into account. We have recently conducted a randomized controlled trial to assess whether infants born SGA may benefit from an enriched post discharge formula. This study suggests that the growth pattern in SGA preterm infants is not affected by the consumption of an enriched post discharge formula. The ponderal and linear growth of these infants does not accelerate to achieve early catch up growth. However, as far as the quality of growth is concerned, the fat mass accretion after term decelerates, so that an increase of fat free mass accretion takes place. Future research effort should be directed toward longer follow up and personalized nutrition management.
- Postdischarge nutrition
- Quality of growth
- Small for gestational age preterm infants
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Obstetrics and Gynaecology