To provide an updated birth weight-for-gestational age (BW-for-GA) reference in the United States by using the most recent, nationally representative birth data with obstetric estimates of gestational age (GA).
We abstracted 3 285 552 singleton births between 22 and 42 weeks' gestation with nonmissing race and/or ethnicity, infant sex, parity, birth weight, and obstetric estimate of GA from the 2017 US natality files. We used 2 techniques (nonlinear, resistant smoothing [4253H] and lambda-mu-sigma) to derive smoothed BW-for-GA curves and compared resulting BW-for-GA cut-points at the third, 10th, 90th, and 97th percentiles with US references from 1999 to 2009.
The smoothed BW-for-GA curves from both techniques overlapped considerably with each other, with strong agreements seen between the 2 techniques (>99% agreement; κ-statistic >0.9) for BW-for-GA cut-points at the third, 10th, 90th, and 97th percentiles across all GAs. Cut-points from 2017 using the lambda-mu-sigma method captured 9.8% to 10.2% of births <10th and >90th percentiles and 2.6% to 3.3% of births below the third and above the 97th percentile across all GAs. However, cut-points from US references in 1999 and 2009 (when GA was based on last menstrual period) captured a much larger range of proportions of 2017 births at these thresholds, especially among preterm and postterm GA categories.
We have provided an updated BW-for-GA reference in the United States using the most recent births with obstetric estimates of GA and information to calculate continuous measures of birth size that are sex or parity specific.