Small for gestational age (SGA) infants are at increased risk for preterm birth morbidities as well as a range of adverse perinatal outcomes that result in part from associated premature birth. We sought to evaluate the costs of SGA versus appropriate for gestational age (AGA) infants in France from pregnancy through the first year of life and separate the contributions of prematurity from the contribution of foetal growth on costs.
This is a cross-sectional population-based study using national hospital discharge data from French public and private hospitals. SGA infants were defined as newborns with a birth weight below the 10th percentile of French intrauterine growth curves adjusted for foetal sex. AGA infants were defined as newborns with a birth weight between the 25th and the 75th. All births were selected between January 1st, 2011 and December 31st, 2011. Costs were calculated from the hospital perspective for both mothers and children using their diagnostic related group and the French national cost study. Hospital outcomes were extracted from the database and compared by gestational age and mode of delivery.
Of 777,720 total births in 2011, 84,688 SGA births (10.9%) and 395,760 AGA births (50.8%) were identified. After adjustment for gestational age, the cost for an SGA infant was €2,783 higher than for an AGA infant. The total maternal and infant hospital cost of SGA in France was estimated at 23% the total cost for deliveries. The high cost is explained by higher complication rates, more frequent hospital readmissions and longer lengths of stay.
Being small for gestational age is an independent contributor to 1-year hospital costs for both mothers and infants.