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January 1965

Birth Weight and Gestation As Indices of "Immaturity": Neonatal Mortality and Congenital Anomalies Of the "Immature"

Author Affiliations

From the Cooperative Study of Child Development of the Division of Biostatistics, School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley; the Permanente Medical Group and the Kaiser Foundation Research Institute, Oakland.

Am J Dis Child. 1965;109(1):43-57. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1965.02090020045005

THE CONCEPT of prematurity has evolved over the years and expanded beyond the intuitive notion of a pregnancy which terminates before term. Currently it assumes more nearly the connotation of a pregnancy which terminates before the fetus derived the benefit of full and satisfactory intrauterine development. It is, thus, not limited to pregnancies which terminate early—it implies, rather, that the fetus did not develop in utero long enough or well enough. For purposes of investigating the phenomenon of prematurity, it is therefore not sufficient to employ an index of "length of pregnancy." It is desirable to utilize also an index of "adequacy of intrauterine development."

It is difficult to formulate a satisfactory objective index of adequacy of intrauterine development since the fetus can be observed and evaluated only after the pregnancy terminates. One must therefore rely primarily on extrauterine measures and yardsticks. The anthropometric measurements of weight, of length, and

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