Fetal growth

K. W.M. Bloemenkamp*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Effective monitoring of fetal growth is of major importance in antenatal care. However, the clinical performance of screening methods of fetal growth abnormalities is poor and it is questionable if with current methods, antenatal detection actually improves outcome. Clinical palpation and fundal height measurements have a large range of error when predicting fetal weight. At term, clinical estimates have a significantly higher accuracy than when derived sonographically. Serial measurements of abdominal circumference (AC) and estimated fetal weight (EFW) sonographically, i.e. growth velocities are superior to single estimates of AC or EFW in the prediction of fetal growth restriction and predicting poor perinatal outcome. There is no superior formula when estimating fetal weight. The random errors are the major problem and are large. The accuracy of EFW is compromised by large intra- and interobserver variability. Efforts must be made to minimize this variability. Customized birth weight, ultrasound EFW or customized fundal height charts that are adjusted for important independent physiological variables, such as maternal weight, maternal height, ethnic group and parity, have better sensitivities for identifying small for gestational age (SGA) fetuses and intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) and have lower false-positive rates and are predictive of poor perinatal events. 3D ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are claimed to be more accurate in determining fetal volume and, consequently, better in estimating fetal weight. However, both methods are time consuming, expensive and not widely available.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)295-301
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Congress Series
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2005


  • Estimated fetal weight
  • Fetal growth
  • IUGR
  • MRI
  • Ultrasound


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