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Obstet Gynecol. 2008 Oct;112(4):765-71. doi: 10.1097/AOG.0b013e318187d034.

Early fetal size and growth as predictors of adverse outcome.

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Department of Fetal Medicine and Ultrasound, Copenhagen University Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark.



To evaluate the association between fetal size and growth between the first and second trimesters and subsequent adverse pregnancy outcome.


A cohort was created of 7,642 singleton pregnancies cared for in three obstetric units associated with Copenhagen University. Data were obtained from ultrasound measurements at 11-14 weeks (crown-rump length, biparietal diameter) and 17-21 weeks (biparietal diameter). Fetal size was assessed by gestation-specific z scores, and fetal growth between the first and second trimester was calculated individually using conditional centiles. The main outcome measures were preterm delivery, smallness for gestational age, and perinatal death.


Slow growth of the biparietal diameter less than the 10th and less than the 2.5th conditional centiles between first and second trimesters occurred in 10.4% and 3.6% of the population, respectively. Biparietal diameter growth less than the 10th centile was associated with perinatal death before 34 weeks (risk 0.5% compared with 0.04%, odds ratio [OR] 16.0, confidence interval [CI] 2.9-88.7). Biparietal diameter growth less than the 2.5th centile was the best predictor of perinatal death at any gestation, with a positive likelihood ratio of 4.7 and an OR of 7.3 (CI 2.4-22.2). In contrast, the biparietal diameter, dated by crown-rump length, did not have an increased risk of perinatal death; however, there was a mildly increased risk of small for gestational age birth weight (less than the 10th customized centile) if the biparietal diameter was below the 10th centile in the first trimester (risk 17% compared with 12%, OR 1.5, CI 1.2-1.8) or in the second trimester (risk 15.8% compared with 12.4%, OR 1.3, CI 1.1-1.5).


Slow growth of the fetal biparietal diameter between the first and second trimesters of pregnancy is a strong predictor of perinatal death before 34 weeks.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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