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Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol. 2012 Dec;40(6):630-5. doi: 10.1002/uog.12277.

Impact of ovulation and implantation timing on first-trimester crown-rump length and gestational age.

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Fetal Medicine Department, Rosie Hospital, Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Cambridge, UK.



To determine the impact of ovulation and implantation timing on first-trimester crown-rump length (CRL) and the derived gestational age (GA).


One hundred and forty-three women who were trying to conceive were recruited prospectively. The timing of ovulation and implantation and the ovulation to implantation (O-I) interval were established in 101 pregnancies using home urinary tests for luteinizing hormone and human chorionic gonadotropin. In 71 ongoing pregnancies, GA determined by measurement of fetal CRL at 10-14 weeks' gestation was compared with GA based on ovulation and implantation day. First-trimester growth was determined by serial ultrasound scans at 6-7, 8-9 and 10-14 weeks.


The median ovulation and implantation days were 16 and 27, respectively, with an O-I interval of 11 days. GA estimated from CRL at 10-14 weeks was on average 1.3 days greater than that derived from ovulation timing. CRL Z-score was inversely related to O-I interval (ρ= -0.431, P=0.0009). There was no significant relationship between CRL growth rate and the difference between observed CRL and expected CRL based on GA from last menstrual period (ρ=0.224, P=0.08).


Early implantation leads to a larger CRL and late implantation to a smaller CRL at 10-14 weeks, independent of CRL growth rate. Implantation timing is a major determinant of fetal size at 10-14 weeks and largely explains the variation in estimates of GA in the first trimester derived from embryonic or fetal CRL.

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