Background/Aims: Intrauterine growth restriction is an indication for growth hormone treatment. Birth length (BL) is needed to evaluate the influence of birth size on childhood short stature. However, BL is commonly measured only approximately, if at all. A single-centre study was undertaken to determine the value of measuring accurate and targeted BL and parental height (PH) for neonates with a birth weight (BW) ≤9th centile, identifying short [BL ≤-2 standard deviation scores (SDS)] and light newborns (BW ≤-2 SDS), and remeasuring short neonates at 2 years in order to detect those not showing catch-up growth. Methods: Information was collected on all live births (n = 3,798) in a single maternity unit during a 1-year period. Results: BW was ≤9th centile in 481 neonates (12.7%) of whom 47 were light but not short, 46 were short, and 60 were both light and short. Of 107 eligible infants, 57 (53%) attended the 2-year follow-up; failure of catch-up growth was identified in 6 infants (11%) of whom only 1 was already known to medical services. PH was measured in both parents of 52/153 (34%) light and/or short infants. Conclusion: Targeted and accurate BL measurement in newborns with a BW ≤9th centile is a promising alternative to the current practices. The feasibility of PH measurement after birth still requires further evaluation.

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