Fetal growth chart for growth assessment of fetus helps predicting short and long term outcomes in a newborn baby.
The appropriateness of intrauterine growth estimation of fetuses has its limitations. The methods available for checking fetal size before delivery provide only an estimated fetal weight.
Fetal growth is a dynamic process. Its estimation requires serial evaluations of fetal size, each at 3 weeks interval : Shorter intervals could lead to some faulty interpretations. Moreover, it works on the assumption that growth is a uniform continuous process rather than sporadic.
These factors confuse the prediction of the expected outcome for neonates. Results of the various parameters evaluated for the fetal growth have to be correlated clinically.
The fetal growth charts are best as clinician's tools to judge the overall picture of an estimated fetal weight.
Fetal growth charts
Fetal growth percentile charts need data on optimal intrauterine growth, which is seen only in pregnancies that are not affected by any maternal or fetal pathology.
Moreover, the fetus should not be exposed to any agent that can pathologically affect its intrauterine growth and development.
Limitations faced to collect data for appropriate intrauterine growth estimation of fetuses
Uterine fundal height
The fundal height of uterus, when measured in centimeters, coincides with weeks of gestation between 18 and 30 weeks. If the measurement is more than 2-3 cm from the expected height, inappropriate fetal growth may be expected.
Factors that affect clinical measurement of the uterus or estimation of fetal weight:
Prenatal ultrasound evaluations provide reliable measurements, which are used to estimate approximate fetal weight for the gestational age.
The common ultrasound measurements of fetus done during prenatal visits:
Please note that even the best ultrasound measurements can not be as reliable as actually weighing and measuring a baby after birth.
Guarded Outcome is feared if a low percentile position on fetal growth chart is accompanied by:
To download the percentile fetal growth chart click here.
The fetal growth chart is actually for the premature infants, but it also gives an approximate estimate of intrauterine growth of the unborn baby.
Fetal growth charts can also be used to monitor the percentile growth curve of developing fetuses.
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