Fetal growth chart are made to assess the growth of the baby in the womb. It thereby helps to predict short and long term outcomes in a newborn baby. Though this sounds really good, the appropriateness of intrauterine growth estimation of fetuses has its limitations. The methods available for checking a baby's size in the womb, before it is born, provide only an estimated fetal weight and body measurements.
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 percentile charts need factual information on optimal intrauterine growth. This is only possible by sequentially evaluating the unborn babies of normal pregnancies. Normal here implies that the pregnancies should not only be free of maternal and fetal disease, but also not exposed to any biological or chemical threats to fetal growth and development.
Data collection for appropriate intrauterine growth estimation of fetuses is full of difficulties for the reasons given below.
The fundal height of uterus of an expectant mother, 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 could be expected.
These factors, which are a common variable, significantly affect the correct estimation of the weight of the baby in the womb.
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:
Nevertheless, 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:
The fetal growth chart is actually for the premature infants, but it also gives an approximate estimate of intrauterine growth of the unborn baby. They can also be used to monitor the percentile growth curve of developing fetuses.
Wish to have one anyway?
- Go ahead-
Click here and download the percentile fetal growth chart.
Related pages of interest are indexed in the right column
Liked what you read just now? Pay it forward!