A study on new-born foot length measurement to identify high risk neonate

P. Sampathkumar, S. Amudha Devi


Background: In India, most of the neonatal mortality is due to low birth weight and prematurity. Since the majority of deliveries were conducted at the peripheral level, logistic constraints make it difficult for early and reliable identification of low birth weight babies who require extra care. There are so many studies have been conducted to find out an alternative anthropometric measurement for birth weight and Gestational age. One such innovation is the Foot length measurement. Various studies have been conducted on foot length reliability as a proxy measurement. The aim of the present study is to study the correlation between foot length and other variables like birth weight, gestational age, chest circumference and head circumference among small for gestational age, appropriate for gestational age and large for gestational age and to determine utility of using foot length as a screening tool to identify small babies (LBW/premature) in need of extra care.

Methods: It is a cross-sectional descriptive study of 2000 neonate conducted in Government Mohan Kumaramangalam Medical College Hospital, Salem. Babies with lower limb anomaly were excluded from the study. The foot length, head & chest circumference, birth weight and gestational age of the study population were collected by using standard methods. The study group was categorized based on their sex, maturity and gestational age.

Results: The study group included 53.7% of male and 46.3% female babies. There were 81.4% term and 18.6% preterm babies. In this study group, there were 85.1%, 14.3% and 0.6% of AGA, SGA and LGA babies respectively. The mean foot length for term babies observed in this study is 6.91 cm with the standard deviation of 0.44. The mean foot length for preterm babies is 5.94 cm with a standard deviation of 0.43. Statistically, by performing Scheffe’s multiple comparisons tests the foot length was found to be significantly different in AGA, SGA and LGA babies.

Conclusions: Foot length is a simple and more reliable anthropometric measurement to assess the birth weight and gestational age in newborn babies. Foot length can emerge as an important anthropometric measurement in neonates and can be used to screen prematurity and SGA babies in need of care.


Foot length, Low birthweight, Neonatal mortality, Preterm baby

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