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Early Hum Dev. 2000 Jan;57(1):1-13.

Fetal biometry in different ethnic groups.

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  • 1Antwerp University Hospital, Department of Obstetrics, Edegem, Belgium.



The aim of this study was to determine whether differences in ultrasound-measured fetal biometry exist between pregnant woman of autochthonous Belgian origin and migrant women from Morocco and Turkey.


A prospective cross-sectional study was performed in which fetal biparietal diameter, head circumference, abdominal circumference and femur length were measured in pregnant women presenting between 18 and 40 weeks of gestation. Fetal weight was calculated using the formulae by Shepard and Hadlock. Only uncomplicated singleton pregnancies with a certain date of the last menstrual period, confirmed by early ultrasound, were included. The father of the child had to be of the same ethnic origin as the mother. Polynomial regression of the different measurements was performed for women of autochthonous Belgian origin and for migrant women from Morocco and from Turkey.


Singleton fetuses numbering 524 were examined, including 369 Belgian, 78 Moroccan and 77 Turkish. Polynomial regression was performed for the three groups for the biparietal diameter, head circumference, abdominal circumference, femur length and estimated fetal weight. No significant difference between the three different ethnic groups could be demonstrated for the biparietal diameter (P = 0.39). There was a significant difference for the head circumference (P = 0.017), the abdominal circumference (P = 0.0015), the femur length (P = 0.0014) and the estimated fetal weight for both formulae (Shepard P = 0.047; Hadlock P = 0.0006).


In this set of cross-sectional data no significant difference for ultrasound-measured fetal biparietal diameter between autochthonous Belgian women and migrant women from Morocco and from Turkey could be demonstrated. Differences do exist for the head circumference, the abdominal circumference, the femur length and the estimated fetal weight. The use of adapted charts of fetal size for pregnant women of Turkish or Moroccan origin should be considered.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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