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Avoiding postnatal undernutrition of VLBW infants during neonatal intensive care: evidence and personal view in the absence of evidence
  1. Christoph Maas,
  2. Christian F Poets,
  3. Axel R Franz
  1. Department of Neonatology, University Hospital, Tuebingen, Germany
  1. Correspondence to Dr Christoph Maas, Department of Neonatology, Tuebingen University Hospital, Calwerstr. 7, Tuebingen 72076, Germany; Christoph.Maas{at}


Inadequate nutrient intakes in the first postnatal weeks play a crucial role in the aetiology of postnatal growth restriction of very low birthweight (VLBW) infants. Efforts to improve early nutrition in these infants led to a significant reduction in postnatal growth failure. Initiation of enhanced parenteral nutrition immediately after birth and utilisation of the large potential of early enteral nutrition seem pivotal. Nevertheless, it remains challenging to further reduce the initial drop in weight and head circumference z-score and to improve body composition and linear growth. This review will summarise data on how near-fetal postnatal weight gain in VLBW infants can be achieved and makes suggestions for early nutrition of VLBW infants.

  • Nutrition
  • Growth
  • Infant Feeding
  • Neonatology
  • Very low birth weight infant

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