Objective: To construct gestation specific standards of birth weight, crown-heel length, and head circumference of Chinese infants.
Design: A prospective cross sectional population study.
Methods: The birth weight, crown-heel length, and head circumference were prospectively measured using standard equipment in newborns delivered at 24–42 weeks gestation in the maternity units of 10 public hospitals and two private hospitals in Hong Kong. The findings were used to construct gestation specific standards of these variables. The LMS method using maximum penalised likelihood was used to perform model fitting. The results were compared with those obtained from a cohort of infants born in the same locality between 1982 and 1986.
Results: From October 1998 to September 2000, a total of 10 032 infants were measured, representing 9.6% of the total deliveries in Hong Kong during that period. An extra 307 infants with gestation ≤ 35 weeks were recruited from October 2000 to June 2001. Each of the three variables showed a normal distribution at each gestational week. Gestation specific reference standards for each variable were constructed for male and female infants separately. Comparison with the 1982–1986 cohort showed a significant secular trend to increased birth weight. The trend was small, but significant, for crown-heel length and head circumference.
Conclusion: These growth standards will provide useful references for the care of newborns of ethnic Chinese origin. These standards, especially that for birth weight, should be updated regularly.
- growth standards
- birth weight
- crown-heel length
- head circumference
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