Nutritional policies for late preterm and early term infants - can we do better?

Semin Fetal Neonatal Med. 2019 Feb;24(1):43-47. doi: 10.1016/j.siny.2018.10.005. Epub 2018 Oct 12.


Late preterm (LP) and early term (ET) infants can be considered the "great dissemblers": they resemble healthy full-term infants in appearance, but their immaturity places them at increased risk of poor short- and long-term outcomes. Nutritional requirements are greater than for full-term babies, but there are few good data on the nutritional requirements for LP and ET babies, leading to substantial variation in practice. Recent data indicate that rapid growth may be beneficial for neurocognitive function but not for body composition and later metabolic health. Breastfeeding the LP or ET infant can be challenging, and mothers of these infants may need additional support to breastfeed successfully. Future research should investigate nutritional requirements of LP and ET infants for optimal growth, addressing both short- and long-term outcomes and the potential trade-off between neurocognitive and metabolic benefits.

Keywords: Breastfeeding; Early term; Infant growth; Late preterm; Nutrition.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Breast Feeding
  • Humans
  • Infant Nutritional Physiological Phenomena / physiology*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Nutritional Status
  • Premature Birth*