BACKGROUND: With the increased availability of access to prenatal ultrasound in low/middle-income countries, there is opportunity to better characterize the association between fetal growth and birth weight across global settings. This is important, as fetal growth curves and birthweight charts are often used as proxy health indicators. As part of a randomized control trial, in which ultrasonography was utilized to establish accurate gestational age of pregnancies, we explored the association between gestational age and birthweight among a cohort in Western Kenya, then compared our results to data reported by the INTERGROWTH-21st study.
METHODS: This study was conducted in 8 geographical clusters across 3 counties in Western Kenya. Eligible subjects were nulliparous women carrying singleton pregnancies. An early ultrasound was performed between 6 + 0/7 and 13 + 6/7 weeks gestational age. At birth, infants were weighed on platform scales provided either by the study team (community births), or the Government of Kenya (public health facilities). The 10th, 25th, median, 75th, and 90th BW percentiles for 36 to 42 weeks gestation were determined; resulting percentile points were plotted, and curves determined using a cubic spline technique. A signed rank test was used to quantify the comparison of the percentiles generated in the rural Kenyan sample with those of the INTERGROWTH-21st study.
RESULTS: A total of 1291 infants (of 1408 pregnant women randomized) were included. Ninety-three infants did not have a measured birth weight. The majority of these were due to miscarriage (n = 49) or stillbirth (n = 27). No significant differences were found between subjects who were lost to follow-up. Signed rank comparisons of the observed median of the Western Kenya data at 10th, 50th, and 90th birthweight percentiles, as compared to medians reported in the INTERGROWTH-21st distributions, revealed close alignment between the two datasets, with significant differences at 36 and 37 weeks. Limitations of the current study include small sample size, and detection of potential digit preference bias.
CONCLUSIONS: A comparison of birthweight percentiles by gestational age estimation, among a sample of infants from rural Kenya, revealed slight differences as compared to those from the global population (INTERGROWTH-21st).
TRIAL REGISTRATION: This is a single site sub-study of data collected in conjunction with the Aspirin Supplementation for Pregnancy Indicated Risk Reduction In Nulliparas (ASPIRIN) Trial, which is listed at ClinicalTrials.gov , NCT02409680 (07/04/2015).