• We differentiate patterns of postnatal physical growth in 61 fullterm newborns with either normal or atypical somatic fetal growth. At birth, 14 normal babies had average ponderal indices, 14 were overweight for length (high ponderal index), 18 were underweight for length (low ponderal index), and 15 had short crown-heel lengths for dates and normal ponderal indices. Appropriate statistical analyses determined attained and velocity growth of the four groups during the first postnatal year. Statistically significant and marked differences in postnatal growth were noted between short babies and babies with low ponderal indices. The slow postnatal growth of the short infants appeared to be a continuum of their fetal growth pattern. On the other hand, infants born with low ponderal indices accelerated their weight gains and reversed the malnourished state in which they were born. These findings suggest that there are two distinct types of fetal growth retardation.
(Am J Dis Child 131:1078-1083, 1977)