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Small for gestational age children

Tanya Zlateva


Small-for-gestational-age (SGA) children have been the subject of scientific interest over the last century. Since 2013, the 10th percentile for height and/or weight for the corresponding gestational age has been used as a cut-off to define the condition. This specific population group is characterized by multiple early and late complications.

The aim of the present paper is to review the data in the literature regarding the prevalence, early and late complications associated with SGA delivery.

The most commonly used cut-offs for defining an SGA child are the 2,3rd, 3rd, and 10th percentiles. Using a different definition and curves results in a large difference in prevalence. The presented cohort is characterized by a variety of early and late complications. Early complications include mortality, hypoglycemia, and hypothermia. Mortality in this cohort can be several times higher compared to children born adequate for their gestational age (AGA). Hypoglycemia, especially prolonged and unrecognized, can lead to permanent brain damage. Hypothermia was more common in the group of children born SGA compared to those born AGA.

Late complications can develop at any stage of a person’s life. This group includes metabolic disorders, hypertension, precocious puberty, and reduced bone density. To date, an increased cardiovascular risk has been repeatedly demonstrated in adults born SGA. Studies have shown that those born SGA are likely to develop metabolic complications as early as infancy. The most common metabolic disorders are insulin resistance, impaired glucose tolerance and type 2 diabetes mellitus.


small for gestational age children, SGA, prevalence, complications

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