GROWTH MONITORING FOR LOW BIRTH WEIGHT INFANTS IN OMDURMAN MATERNITY HOSPITAL, SUDAN
This was a longitudinal study to investigate the growth monitoring of Low Birth Weight (LBW) infants, (weight, length and head circumference) from birth to 6 months of age. 84 LBW infants delivered at Omdurman Maternity were included in the study, normal birth weight or preterm infants were excluded. Data was collected by questionnaire included background of the families and Infant's health and feeding. Mothers were interviewed first in the wards 3-4 h after delivery, then during home visits after 2 w and monthly follow up monitoring were used up to 6 mo. Infant's birth weight was taken immediately after birth and classified as LBW (1500-<2500 g) or VLBW (1000-<1500 g), as well as length and head circumference. Weights taken after 2 w and during monthly follow up. Infant's length and head circumference were measured to the nearest 0.1. cm. The data was analysed using statistical package for social science program (SPSS) and Chi-square test. 96.4% of the infants had LBW and 3.6% VLBW, 78.4% had normal health at birth and the rest suffered from jaundice, chest infection and diarrhoea were transferred to New Born Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for 1-3 w. 32.1% of the infants reached standard weight at the 6th month and 33.3% never reached it at any age. Mean weight attained at every age from birth to 6 months was always below standard weight. Weight attained at 2 w was 1.3 times and at 6 months 3 times the birth weight. Boys and girls had the same mean weight at birth and both doubled their weight in the second month. Length at birth was 58.3% and at 6th month was 53.6% standard length, however, there were 2 growth spurts, in the 2nd week (70.2%) and 4th month (80.9%). There was a steady increase in head circumference (≥ standard) and then a drop in the 5th (51.2%) and 6th (54.8%) months. Growth monitoring using Z-scores showed that girls had normal weight-for-age growth from 1st to 6th months but boys suffered mild underweight for the same period. Both had normal length-for-age growth from 1st to 6th months and both had normal weight-for-length growth only in the 5th and 6th months. Determinants of infants reaching standard weight at 6 months were: order of infant (P<0.037), number of family members (P<0.039), type of area (P<0.027) and diarrhoea infection (P<0.042). There was a significant correlation (P<0.000) between weight at birth and at 2 w but not with any other weights. The study recommended special care for LBW infants by admitting to the new born intensive care unit (NICU) till they achieve the optimum weight for their age.
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