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Curr Epidemiol Rep. 2018;5(4):388-398. doi: 10.1007/s40471-018-0168-6. Epub 2018 Sep 20.

Current Issues in the Development of Foetal Growth References and Standards.

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1Centre for Tropical Medicine and Global Health, Nuffield Department of Medicine University of Oxford, Old Road Campus, Oxford, OX3 7BN UK.
2Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Pembroke Place, Liverpool, L3 5QA UK.
3Maternal and Fetal Health Research Centre, Division of Developmental Biology and Medicine, School of Medical Sciences, Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health, University of Manchester, Manchester, M13 9WL UK.


Purpose of Review:

This paper discusses the current issues in the development of foetal charts and is informed by a scoping review of studies constructing charts between 2012 and 2018.

Recent Findings:

The scoping review of 20 articles revealed that there is still a lack of consensus on how foetal charts should be constructed and whether an international chart that can be applied across populations is feasible. Many of these charts are in clinical use today and directly affect the identification of at risk newborns that require treatment and nutritional strategies. However, there is no agreement on important design features such as inclusion and exclusion criteria; sample size and agreement on definitions such as what constitutes a healthy population of pregnant women that can be used for constructing foetal standards.


This paper therefore reiterates some of these current issues and the scoping review showcases the heterogeneity in the studies developing foetal charts between 2012 and 2018. There is no consensus on these pertinent issues and hence if not resolved will lead to continued surge of foetal reference and standard charts which will only exacerbate the current problem of not being able to make direct comparisons of foetal size and growth across populations.


Charts; Fetal biometry; Fetal measurements; Foetal growth; References; Standards

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.

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