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The value of predicting restriction of fetal growth and compromise of its wellbeing: Systematic quantitative overviews (meta-analysis) of test accuracy literature.

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Academic Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Birmingham, Birmingham Women's Hospital, Birmingham, B15 2TG, UK.



Restriction of fetal growth and compromise of fetal wellbeing remain significant causes of perinatal death and childhood disability. At present, there is a lack of scientific consensus about the best strategies for predicting these conditions before birth. Therefore, there is uncertainty about the best management of pregnant women who might have a growth restricted baby. This is likely to be due to a dearth of clear collated information from individual research studies drawn from different sources on this subject.


A series of systematic reviews and meta-analyses will be undertaken to determine, among pregnant women, the accuracy of various tests to predict and/or diagnose fetal growth restriction and compromise of fetal wellbeing. We will search Medline, Embase, Cochrane Library, MEDION, citation lists of review articles and eligible primary articles and will contact experts in the field. Independent reviewers will select studies, extract data and assess study quality according to established criteria. Language restrictions will not be applied. Data synthesis will involve meta-analysis (where appropriate), exploration of heterogeneity and publication bias.


The project will collate and synthesise the available evidence regarding the value of the tests for predicting restriction of fetal growth and compromise of fetal wellbeing. The systematic overviews will assess the quality of the available evidence, estimate the magnitude of potential benefits, identify those tests with good predictive value and help formulate practice recommendations.

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