Author(s): Gardosi J, Chang A, Kalyan B, Sahota D, Symonds EM
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Abstract Charts for fetal growth do not take physiological variables into account. We have therefore designed a computer-generated antenatal chart that can be easily "customised" for each individual pregnancy, taking the mother's characteristics and birthweights from previous pregnancies into consideration. The adjusted birthweight range expected at 40 weeks' gestation is combined with a standard, longitudinal ultrasound-derived curve for intrauterine weight gain. Review at the Queen's Medical Centre, Nottingham, UK, of 4179 pregnancies with ultrasound-confirmed dates showed that, in addition to gestation and sex, maternal weight at first antenatal-clinic visit, height, ethnic group, and parity were significant determinants of birthweight in our population. Correction factors were calculated for each of these variables and entered into a computer program to adjust the normal birthweight centile limits. With adjusted centiles we found that 28\% of babies conventionally designated small for gestational age (less than 10th centile) and 22\% of those designated large (greater than 90th centile) were in fact within normal limits for the pregnancy. Conversely, 24\% and 26\% of babies identified as small or large, respectively, with adjusted centiles were "missed" by conventional unadjusted centile assessment. Adjustment for physiological variables will make assessment of fetal growth more precise and reduce unnecessary investigations, interventions, and parental anxiety.
This article was published in Lancet
and referenced in Pediatrics & Therapeutics