Body composition in late preterm infants in the first 10 days of life and at full term

Acta Paediatrica
Elisabeth Olhager, Caroline Törnqvist

Abstract

To investigate changes in body weight, fat-free mass, fat mass and percentage of body fat during early life and at full-term postconceptional age (PCA) in preterm infants born after 32 gestational weeks and before 37. Twenty-nine late preterm infants underwent growth and body composition assessment by air displacement plethysmography (ADP) at the age of 4 days and at full-term PCA. In 25 of these infants, body composition was assessed three times between days four and nine of life. The preterm infants were compared with 29 full-term infants, matched for gestational age, sex and body weight. There was a significant increase in birth weight and fat-free mass between days four and nine of life. Preterm infants had significantly more body fat 382 ± 180 g vs 287 ± 160 g than full-term infants at full-term PCA. Preterm infants showed poor linear growth between birth and full-term PCA. Weight gain after the initial postnatal weight loss consists of gain in fat-free mass. At full-term PCA, preterm infants were stunted. When compared with full-term new born infants matched for body weight and gestational age, preterm infants had more body fat and a higher percentage of body fat.

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