, Volume 147, Issue 6, pp 613-615

Fetal and neonatal mortality of small-for-gestational age infants

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Abstract

Fetal and neonatal mortality of small-for-gestational age (SGA) infants in 1968–1982 were studied in the region of the University Central Hospital of Turku, Finland. During the study period, there were 254 fetal and 127 neonatal deaths in SGA infants. The fetal mortality rate of SGA infants declined from 49.9/1000 to 14.0/1000. The neonatal mortality rate of SGA infants declined from 23.8/1000 to 8.3/1000. The severely SGA infants with a birth weight below the 2.5th percentile had three times higher neonatal mortality rates than SGA infants with a birth weight between the 2.5th and the 10th percentiles. The main causes of fetal deaths were maternal diseases, placental and cord complications and fetal malnutrition, even though there was a decline in all these groups. Malformations remained the main cause of neonatal death during the study period, while there was a decline in deaths due to asphyxia and respiratory distress syndrome (RDS). The high mortality rates of SGA infants emphasize the need for early diagnosis and special attention during pregnancy, delivery and the neonatal period.