Estimating birth weight from observed postnatal weights in a Guatemalan highland community

Camilo E. Valderrama, Faezeh Marzbanrad, Michel Juarez, Rachel Hall-Clifford, Peter Rohloff, Gari D. Clifford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: Low birth weight is one of the leading contributors to global perinatal deaths. Detecting this problem close to birth enables the initiation of early intervention, thus reducing the long-term impact on the fetus. However, in low-and middle-income countries, sometimes newborns are weighted days or months after birth, thus challenging the identification of low birth weight. This study aims to estimate birth weight from observed postnatal weights recorded in a Guatemalan highland community. Approach: With 918 newborns recorded in postpartum visits at a Guatemalan highland community, we fitted traditional infant weight models (Count's and Reeds models). The model that fitted the observed data best was selected based on typical newborn weight patterns reported in the medical literature and previous longitudinal studies. Then, estimated birth weights were determined using the weight gain percentage derived from the fitted weight curve. Main results: The best model for both genders was the Reeds2 model, with a mean square error of 0.30 kg2 and 0.23 kg2 for male and female newborns, respectively. The fitted weight curves exhibited similar behavior to those reported in the literature, with a maximum weight loss around three to five days after birth, and birth weight recovery, on average, by day ten. Moreover, the estimated birth weight was consistent with the 2015 Guatemalan National Survey, no having a statistically significant difference between the estimated birth weight and the reported survey birth weights (two-sided Wilcoxon rank-sum test;). Significance: By estimating birth weight at an opportune time, several days after birth, it may be possible to identify low birth weight more accurately, thus providing timely treatment when is required.

Original languageEnglish
Article number025008
Number of pages12
JournalPhysiological Measurement
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020


  • Birth weight
  • fetal monitoring
  • neonatal weight changes

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