Menu ENN Search

The 2023 Lancet series on ‘small and vulnerable newborns’: A quick overview

View this article as a pdf

Lisez cet article en français ici

This is a summary of the 2023 Lancet series on small and vulnerable newborns: Small vulnerable newborns (2023) The Lancet. https://www.thelancet.com/series/small-vulnerable-newborns

The foundations of human wellbeing are laid before birth. Unfortunately, many babies experience adversities during this intrauterine period. Consequently, they can be born preterm (<37 weeks of gestation) or suffer foetal growth restriction and be born small for gestational age (SGA). Both preterm birth and foetal growth restriction can result in low birthweight (LBW, <2500g). Children who are born preterm, SGA, or with LBW have a markedly increased risk of stillbirth, neonatal death, and later childhood mortality. Additionally, these conditions are associated with multiple morbidities with short- and long-term adverse consequences, for newborns, their families, and society at large, resulting in a major loss of human and economic capital.

This Lancet series presents a new conceptual framework that brings preterm birth, SGA, and LBW together under the term “small vulnerable newborns” (SVN) and makes the call that prevention of preterm and SGA births is critical for global child health and for societal development.

The first paper (Ashorn et al, 2023) looks at the current situation, making the case for this new concept of an SVN, revisiting some of the definitions around vulnerability, and aiming to ensure these newborns are cared for better. The second paper (Lawn et al, 2023) depicts SVN epidemiology – the patterns of disease and where that disease may occur. The third paper (Hunter et al, 2023) looks at the biological mechanisms that underpin some of the SVN. For the fourth paper, Hofmeyr et al (2023) reviewed the literature to identify what interventions existed and came up with a list of eight interventions that could be used to reduce and mitigate the burden of SVN: multiple micronutrient supplementation, balanced protein and energy supplementation, low-dose aspirin, progesterone provided vaginally, education for smoking cessation, malaria prevention, treatment of asymptomatic bacteriuria, and treatment of syphilis. If fully implemented in 81 low- and middle-income countries, those preventive interventions could prevent 5.2 million SVN births and 0.6 million stillbirths every year.

In a final commentary, Mohiddin et al (2023) provide a call for action based on three pillars: making SVN prevention a priority, getting the proven interventions scaled up, used globally, and into existing guidelines, and finally improving measurement and accountability.

In response to this call for action, Marie McGrath, Emergency Nutrition Network’s Technical Director and Co-Chair of the MAMI Global Network – and a familiar face as a former Editor of Field Exchange – responded with her views on the series from a MAMI perspective (www.ennonline.net/fex/70/the-lancet-small-vulnerable-newborns-series-reflections-from-a-mami-perspective), in a must-read for contextualising this important piece of work.

References

Ashorn P, Ashorn U, Muthiani Y et al. (2023) Small vulnerable newborns – big potential for impact. The Lancet, 401, 10389, 1692–1706.

Hofmeyr GJ, Black RE, Rogozinska E et al. (2023) Evidence-based antenatal interventions to reduce the incidence of small vulnerable newborns and their associated poor outcomes. The Lancet, 401, 10389, 1733–1744.

Hunter PJ, Awoyemi T, Ayede AI et al. (2023) Biological and pathological mechanisms leading to the birth of a small vulnerable newborn. The Lancet, 401, 10389, 1720–1732.

Lawn JE, Ohuma E O, Bradley E et al. (2023) Small babies, big risks: Global estimates of prevalence and mortality for vulnerable newborns to accelerate change and improve counting. The Lancet, 401, 10389, 1707–1719.

Mohiddin A, Semrau KE, Simon J et al. (2023) The ethical, economic, and developmental imperative to prevent small vulnerable newborns and stillbirths: Essential actions to improve the country and global response. The Lancet, 401, 10389, 1636–1638.

More like this

FEX: Série du Lancet de 2023 sur les petits nouveau-nés vulnérables : aperçu général

Read the English version. Le présent article est une synthèse de la série du Lancet de 2023 sur les petits nouveau-nés vulnérables : Small...

FEX: The Lancet ‘Small Vulnerable Newborns’ series: Reflections from a ‘MAMI’ perspective

View this article as a pdf Lisez cet article en français ici Marie McGrath is a Technical Director at ENN and co-Chair of the MAMI Global Network What we know: This...

FEX: Série du Lancet sur les petits nouveau-nés vulnérables : quelques pistes de réflexion sous l’angle de l’approche MAMI

Read the English version. Marie McGrath est directrice technique pour ENN et coprésidente du réseau mondial MAMI. Ce que nous savons : La série...

FEX: Donor aid: Does it target newborns and stillbirths proportionately?

This is a summary of the following paper: Kumar M, Bath D, Binyaruka P et al. (2023) Donor aid mentioning newborns and stillbirths, 2002-19: An analysis of levels, trends, and...

FEX: Effects of nutrition interventions during pregnancy on low birth weight

Summary of research1 Location: Global What we know: Low birth weight (LBW) is a major underlying cause of infant mortality and childhood morbidity; LBW is greatly affected by...

Blog post: MAMI reflections on the Lancet Small Vulnerable Newborns series

The recently launched Lancet Small Vulnerable Newborns (SVN) Series comprised three hearty papers of evidence and analyses and a call for action to prevent babies being born...

FEX: The Paediatric Development Clinic: A model to improve medical, nutritional and developmental outcomes for high-risk children aged under-five in rural Rwanda

By Kathryn Beck, Catherine M Kirk, Jessica Bradford, Christine Mutaganzwa, Evrard Nahimana and Olivier Bigirumwami View this article as a pdf Kathryn Beck is the Nutrition...

FEX: Improving maternal nutrition in South Asia: Implications for child wasting prevention efforts

View this article as a pdf Lisez cet article en français ici By Zivai Murira and Harriet Torlesse Zivai Murira is Nutrition Specialist at United Nations Children's...

FEX: Preconception and periconception interventions to prevent adverse birth outcomes

View this article as a pdf This is a summary of the following paper: Partap U, Chowdhury R, Taneja S et al (2022) Preconception and periconception interventions to prevent low...

FEX: The Lancet 2023 series on breastfeeding: Unveiling the predatory tactics of the formula milk industry

View this article as a pdf Lisez cet article en français ici This is a summary of the 2023 Lancet Series on breastfeeding:...

FEX: Rates and risk factors for preterm birth and low birthweight

View this article as a pdf Research snapshot 1 Preterm birth2 continues to be a major public health problem contributing to 75% of neonatal mortality worldwide. Low birth...

FEX: Improving practical skills for breastfeeding vulnerable infants in low-resource settings: training material development and a case study from Rwanda

Read a summary of this field article here. By Himali de Silva and Maya Asir with contributions from Kathryn Beck, Catherine M Kirk, Gato Saidath, Marie Louise Manirakiza and...

FEX: Série de la revue The Lancet publiée en 2023 sur l’allaitement maternel : Dévoiler les tactiques prédatrices de l’industrie des laits maternisés

Read an English version of this article here Cet article résume les conclusions de la série consacrée à l'allaitement maternel publiée par...

FEX: Maternal mid-upper arm circumference: Still relevant to identify adverse birth outcomes in humanitarian contexts?

View this article as a pdf Lisez cet article en français ici Sonia Kapil is a former Graduate Researcher at Emory University, Rollins School of Public Health Mija...

FEX: Editorial

View this article as a pdf Dear readers, welcome to the 70th edition of Field Exchange. This edition features a diverse range of articles that we hope will stimulate your...

FEX: The Lancet Series on Maternal and Child Undernutrition Progress

View this article as a pdf Research snapshot1 Thirteen years after the first Lancet Series on Maternal and Child Undernutrition, the latest series on Maternal and Child...

FEX: Higher heights: a greater ambition for maternal and child nutrition in South Asia

Research Summary 1 Poor nutrition in early life threatens the growth and development of children, which has a knock-on effect on the sustainable development of nations. This...

FEX: Setting research priorities on multiple micronutrient supplementation in pregnancy

View this article as a pdf Research snapshot1 A series of publications recently presented evidence of the benefits of multiple micronutrient supplementation (MMS) on maternal...

FEX: Improving maternal nutrition in South Asia: Implications for child wasting prevention efforts

This is a summary of a Field Exchange 'views' article that was included in issue 63 - a special edition on child wasting in South Asia. The original article was authored by...

FEX: Prevention of child wasting in Asia: Possible role for multiple micronutrient supplementation in pregnancy

View this article as a pdf Lisez cet article en français ici By Kristen M. Hurley, Endang L Achadi, Clayton Ajello, Sufia Askari, Madhavika Bajoria, Kalpana...

Close

Reference this page

The 2023 Lancet series on ‘small and vulnerable newborns’: A quick overview. Field Exchange 70, September 2023. p38. www.ennonline.net/fex/70/the-2023-lancet-series-on-small-and-vulnerable-newborns-a-quick-overview

(ENN_7681)

Close

Download to a citation manager

The below files can be imported into your preferred reference management tool, most tools will allow you to manually import the RIS file. Endnote may required a specific filter file to be used.