Analysis of nutritional status of preterm infants at early life

Guanming Li, Airun Zhang, Hanni Lin, Min Wang, Xiaoyi Fang, Silan Yang, Niyang Lin


Background: A rational energy and nutrient intake is important for the physical development of preterm infants to prevent extrauterine growth retardation (EUGR).
Methods: Data of feeding strategies were recorded from 141 preterm infants while they were hospitalized in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and during follow-up until 3 months after discharge. Weight gain velocity, the period of returning to the birth weight, and achieving the reference dietary intakes (RDIs) were analyzed. The incidence of intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR) and EUGR were compared and the possible underlying reasons were explored.
Results: The mean period of returning to birth weight was 13.2 days. The average weight gain after achieving birth weight was 16.7g/(kg·d). The mean period of reaching RDIs was 10.6 days. The incidence of EUGR at discharge (46.6%) was higher than that of IUGR at birth (17.7%) (P<0.01). The incidence of EUGR in infants with gestational age (GA) <34 weeks was higher than those ≥34 weeks (P<0.05). The incidence of EUGR at the 3rd month after discharge was similar to that at discharge (P>0.05). There was no significant difference in the incidence of EUGR at the 3rd month after discharge between the preterm infants with GA <34 weeks and ≥34 weeks (P>0.05). The incidence of EUGR was lower in preterm infants fed by breast milk with human milk fortifier (HMF) or post-discharge formula (PDF) compared with those fed by breast milk or term formula milk (P<0.05).
Conclusions: EUGR is not rare in preterm infants, especially those with small GA during the early stage of life, which is difficult to be improved within a short period of time. After discharge, feeding with fortified breast milk or PDF is more suitable than feeding with the pure breast milk or term formula milk to prevent EUGR in preterm infants.