Determinants of Weight Gain Process in Premature Infants Admitted to Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

Document Type : Original Article


1 Student Research Committee, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran

2 Department of Clinical Nutrition, School of Nutrition and Food Sciences, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran

3 Department of Community Nutrition, School of Nutritional Sciences and Dietetics, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran


Background: A premature birth is a life threatening situation that causes an increase in infant death. The aim of the present study was to investigate the contributing factors to the weight gain process in premature infants in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
Methods: The present birth cohort study was performed on 47 premature infants born in Hafez Hospital in Shiraz, Iran from July 2019 to February 2020. Infants born before the 37th gestational week, who were hospitalized for at least 7 days were included in the study. Demographic and anthropometric data, feeding conditions and supplements, durations of hospitalization, and nothing by mouth (NPO) state, before breastfeeding,and before initiation of oral feeding were recorded.
Results: Twenty eight (59.57%) boys and nineteen (40.42%) girls (n=47) with median of 13 days hospitalization were enrolled. Intakes of amino acid solution (p<0.001), lipid emulsion (p=0.04), phosphorus (p=0.01), and folic acid (p=0.02) were correlated with weight gain process. Results showed a significant linear correlation between hospitalization duration (p<0.001), NPO duration (p=0.02), and duration before beginning breastfeeding (p=0.02) and weight gain pattern. However, there was no significant relationship between the process of weight gain and the duration before initiation of oral feeding (p=0.61).
Conclusion: Earlier breastfeeding initiation and longer hospitalization, and amino acid supplementation can improve weight gain in the premature infants. Further studies are recommended.