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Best Pract Res Clin Obstet Gynaecol. 2009 Aug;23(4):439-52. doi: 10.1016/j.bpobgyn.2009.01.011. Epub 2009 Mar 12.

Dating and growth in the first trimester.

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St George's University of London, Cranmer Terrace, London, UK.


Measurement of embryonic or foetal size using the greatest length of the embryo or foetal crown rump length can be used to accurately determine the gestational age of a normal first trimester pregnancy to within three to five days. Transvaginal ultrasound scan can be used to measure the size of an embryo and gestation sac earlier than transabdominal ultrasound. The original Robinson curve used for dating pregnancies is still valid in most cases. Ultrasound dating in the first trimester is now recommended for all women with spontaneous pregnancies, even those with certain menstrual dates. First trimester growth in normal pregnancy is not uniform and is influenced by both maternal and foetal factors. Early foetal growth restriction is demonstrated in many pregnancies that subsequently end in first trimester miscarriage and is also demonstrated in fetuses with triploidy, trisomy 18 and possibly trisomy 13. Pregnancies which are small at the 11-14 week ultrasound scan appear to be at risk of later intrauterine growth restriction, preeclampsia and preterm delivery. Cross-sectional and serial measurement of foetal growth in the first trimester may be helpful in predicting both miscarriage and adverse late pregnancy outcomes.

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