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Estimating baby size gets more precise

April 29, 2014
Health

New Michigan State University research aims to help doctors estimate the size of newborns with a new set of birth weight measurements based on birth records from across the country.

“More than 7 million records were reviewed,” said Nicole Talge, an assistant professor in MSU’s Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, who co-led the study which is now available in the journal Pediatrics.

“Our research looked at live births in the United States during 2009-2010 and using a newly developed method, corrected unlikely gestational ages during that time. This led to changes in the birth weight thresholds, especially for preterm and post-term babies.”

Talge added that these thresholds are important because they can be used to classify a baby as small or large for gestational age.

As a result, her findings have helped introduce an updated and potentially more precise way to evaluate a baby’s birth size.

During its research, the team’s method compared the last menstrual period of the mother and the estimated gestational age of the fetus against the actual birth weight of the baby when born to identify birth records that had the likely errors.

Since birth size is often used as one indicator of a baby’s health, these new thresholds may be useful for clinicians in making health care decisions. Researchers also may benefit from more precise estimates of birth size when investigating health outcomes at birth and later on in life.

“It’s important to remember that birth size is only one piece of the puzzle when it comes to evaluating a baby’s health,” said Talge.

Additional researchers involved in the project included Lanay Mudd, assistant professor of kinesiology and Alla Sikorskii, associate professor of statistics and probability, both from MSU; and Olga Basso, associate professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Occupational Health at McGill University.


Estimating baby size gets more precise

13 Responses to Estimating baby size gets more precise

  1. 14005515 May 4, 2014 at 11:35 am #

    The new research done on the size of your baby is excellent, but that will not necessarily mean your baby is healthy. The ultra sound technology used already is sufficient enough to monitor the size and health of the infant. Babies also differ in size according to their genes, so how accurate will an average scale, based on the procedures of the research, be? I am never pessimistic about science, but why not work harder to try and find a cure for the needs of society and the daily struggles like cancer, malaria and HIV aids?

  2. u14008034 May 1, 2014 at 11:09 am #

    Technology plays a crucial role in the development on medicine and the way we live our lives today. With this new measurement that can be done, it can possibly help doctors with determining the health of the unborn child but only to a certain extent. Yes, it is thought that if a child is born really small, they automatically think the child will be unhealthy and in need of help right after birth, but this is wrong! A child can be born any size but this doesn’t determine its health. You can be born large or small but despite the size of the child, any sized child that is born can be sick and in need of medical attention. In my honest opinion, yes this measurement can help doctors determining the health but it can be used more efficiently in the looking after the child after it has just been born, for example, the parents of the child will known what size clothing to get the child.

  3. Camilla M. 14137594 May 1, 2014 at 4:13 am #

    This research is really intriguing and it is fascinating to know how technology is rapidly advancing in the field of medicine. Knowing the baby’s size before birth will bring many advantages. I believe this research will help mothers-to-be, be able to approximate the time that they will spend in labour as well as make informed decisions on whether to go for natural birth or Caesarean section. This in turn will save many babies as well as mothers from posthumous and neonatal deaths. However as intriguing and insightful as this research may be, I fail to see how knowing the baby’s size it will help in preventing and treating any abnormalities a baby may have before birth. That I believe is the most crucial part of prenatal care. Since technology seems to be advancing so well one can only hope in the near future, there will be mechanisms in place to match a baby’s size to different health conditions and that these mechanisms will be very accurate.

  4. u14037832 May 1, 2014 at 1:29 am #

    This is a major step forward for prenatal care and health care once the baby arrives. As a baby’s size is directly linked to a baby’s health having the precise size of the baby could assist in correct preparations. The new threshold for a baby’s weight will help determine the possible health complications of the baby later on. At the same time its important to remember that baby size is a minimal factor in accurate determination of baby health. Could this be the beginning of further research into prenatal care resulting in healthier births?

  5. u14062659 April 30, 2014 at 11:30 am #

    The health and development of an unborn baby is still a vastly researched area that has many unanswered questions. The More precise measurement of the unborn baby can help with identifying disorders or abnormalities, by evaluating the babies growth progress.If there occurs an unusual growth of the baby, then doctors can immediately run tests to identify the problem.
    This information can be beneficial to the parents in preparing them for treatment ,one’s the baby has been born.The overall health of the pre -born babies can be better evaluated. Every method that helps with the health and development of unborn babies is only to our advantage.This More precise measurements is not the most important factor to take into account but it will help greatly with the health of babies. I think this is a big breakthrough in answering many questions in the medical field.

  6. Mangoko Malapne (u14112389) April 30, 2014 at 5:34 am #

    The world of science and technology is always interesting with all the new innovations that are constantly emerging to better our general well-being as humans.

    It is amazing to think that something as ‘simple’ as estimating the size of a developing foetus during pregnancy can give an overall idea to the baby’s general state of health when it born, which i am certain is a very crucial element to any parent.

    But as interesting as this new method of estimating the size of a baby may be, it somehow leaves me questioning somethings .Like for instance I feel that this method does not leave room for the consideration of other complications that may be experienced during labour .I mean after all the size of the baby is not the only factor that goes into determining the baby’s health. There are other environmental factors that also play a role once the baby has been born that can have an overall effect on the health of the developing baby that certainly could lead to lifelong health complications.

    I guess its important to realise that this is merely just an ESTIMATE and certainly NOT a definite thing .It should just be used give the parents an overall idea to just put their minds at ease.

  7. Mangoko Malapane (u14112389) April 30, 2014 at 5:14 am #

    The world of science and technology is always interesting with all the new innovations that are constantly emerging to better our general well-being as humans.

    Its amazing to think that something as ‘simple’ as estimating the size of a developing foetus during pregnancy can give an overall idea to the baby’s general state of health when it born, which i am certain is a very crucial element to any parent.

    But as interesting as this new method of estimating the size of a baby may be, it somehow leaves me questioning somethings .Like for instance i feel that this method does not leave room for the consideration of other complications that may be experienced during labour .I mean after all the size of the baby is not the only factor that goes into determining the baby’s health.There are other environmental factors that also play a role once the baby has been born that can have an overall effect on the health of the developing baby that certainly could lead to lifelong health complications.

    I guess its important to realise that this is merely just an ESTIMATE and certainly NOT a definite thing.It should just be used give the parents an overall idea to just put their minds at ease.

  8. 14087775 (Nadine) April 29, 2014 at 1:00 pm #

    This is a great breakthrough ! The health of an unborn baby will always be the first concern for parents. By estimating the baby’s size during pregnancy can be of great help. Growth is a good indicator of general health. Babies that progress well are usually healthy, where poor growth can be a sign of a problem. Although growth is an important factor in determining the health of a baby, it is still not the only factor.

    Other factors that influence the size of babies are the size of the parents, gender of the baby, nutrition of the mother and whether it is your first child or not.

    Predetermining birth size can still be of great help. It enables us toe predict certain complications and can be used to make important health care decisions that can influence both mother and baby. It may even save a life.

    Even though this more accurate method of determining birth size can be very helpful in predicting the health of a baby, it is still not a 100% guarantee that the baby will be healthy e.g. asthma and allergies can not be linked to size.

  9. 14067472 April 29, 2014 at 11:49 am #

    It always amazes me how even seemingly minor advancements in technology like the precision of estimating baby size can have a large impact on our lives as human beings.
    Just the change in birth weight thresholds which redefine the size of a baby from small to large allows health workers to determine the health of a baby more accurately and therefore also make more accurate health care decisions concerning this health. Although the size of a baby is not the only factor used to determine its health, every factor counts and thus the more accurate each of these factors is, the more accurately the health of every baby can be determined.

  10. u14008794 April 29, 2014 at 9:15 am #

    Does it ever occur that being knowledgeable of a baby’s weight not necessary be useful for detecting certain complications?

    This research is undoubtedly astounding and it gives mothers good insight for their upcoming newborns. This information makes it easier for other scientists to discover other aspects so that the rate of complications can decrease and mothers to put in place the necessary means for their babies.

  11. 14059500 - Andre April 29, 2014 at 7:55 am #

    Technology !!!! Then why can we not find a cure for cancer, aids, altzheiners, etc, etc……… But now we can measure the birth weight of a baby to determine whether or not the baby will be healthy or not !!. I have known mothers who have both smoked and consumed alcohol during pregnancy, which is to all Obstetricians an absolute NO-NO and guess what….. babies are normal.
    I know mothers that have followed Marina Patropolis’s book on baby care and have given birth to babies with defects.

    Only our God above can determine the health of our offspring.

    On another note…… the size of a baby in most S.A Doctors consulting rooms . (bearing in mind the mother’s health) has another deviation….. the payment for a normal confinement and a C-Section is greatly different !!.

  12. 14100755 April 29, 2014 at 6:52 am #

    It’s mind blowing how technology and research can lead us to discoveries like these, and how it benefits humankind.

    Besides other factors, the growth of a baby is one of the most important factors in pregnancy and predetermining the health of the baby, and mother.

    Predetermining the size of the baby before birth can prevent certain complications and can help save the baby as well as the mothers life in certain circumstances.

    For example, if it is determined that the baby is abnormally large, the doctors can decide to do a c-section to minimize complications and discomfort for both the baby and mother. Also if it’s determined that the baby is much smaller than normal, the parents as well as the doctors can prepare for an incubator ect.

    It’s great that the new technology and research can help pregnant mothers and their babies even before they are born.

  13. savannah watson (14004641) April 29, 2014 at 6:13 am #

    I know how tall how I will be only because my mother measured my height when I was two and from there did some simple maths and that was that.It is amazing to read about new medical advancements and more especially what these advancements will mean to us.Not only will we be able to estimate the health outcomes during birth we also be able to tell the relative health of the child later on in life.I find it incredible that there are people who are able to come up with methods such as these.I only wish that my generation (myself included) would one day make such contributions…..

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