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Physiological weight loss in term newborn infants
  1. Victoria Knowles,
  2. Phani Kiran Yajamanyam
  1. Neonatology, Sidra Medical and Research Center, Doha, Qatar
  1. Correspondence to Dr Phani Kiran Yajamanyam, Neonatology, Sidra Medical and Research Center, Doha, Qatar; pyajamanyam{at}

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A 3-day-old full-term girl born by elective caesarean section (CS) and exclusively breast fed is noted to have lost 10% of her birth weight (BW). She is clinically well on examination and the midwife reports that the infant is breast feeding frequently with a good latch and suck. You wonder if this is an acceptable weight loss and what intervention, if any, is needed?

Structured clinical question

What is an acceptable physiological weight loss in healthy full-term newborn infants in the immediate postnatal period?


A literature search was performed in Medline and EMBASE using key words ‘weight loss’ OR ‘weight change’ OR ‘weight reduction’ AND ‘newborn’ OR ‘neonates’ OR ‘infants’ between the years 2000 and 2020. Inclusion criteria used are term and ‘near-term’ infants (≥36 weeks, BW ≥2500 g), not needing admission to neonatal unit (healthy) in either hospital or community setting. Studies that included infants born at <36 weeks or with a medical condition or needing admission to a neonatal unit were excluded.


A total of 517 studies were initially identified in the literature search. These were independently screened by both …

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  • Contributors PKY: conception, review of literature, finalising the manuscript. VK: review of literature, writing and revising the manuscript. All authors have read and approved the final manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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