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Ginekol Pol. 2019;90(12):717-721. doi: 10.5603/GP.2019.0123.

Growth charts and prediction of abnormal growth - what is known, what is not known and what is misunderstood.

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Department of Reproductive Health, Center of Postgraduate Medical Education.
Department of Reproductive Health, Center of Postgraduate Medical Education.



Assessment of fetal growth has an important effect on perinatal morbidity and mortality. To understand what tool to choose best for a given population a basic knowledge of how growth charts are developed and used has to be acquired. For this reason, this literature review was performed.


An extensive literature review aimed at identifying articles related to the development of growth assessment in both spectrums of abnormal fetal growth - large and small. The analyzed articles were chosen and presented to show both the historical aspects of growth assessment, current trends and future considerations.


Identification of both large and small fetuses and neonates is equally crucial. Definitions and methodology vary worldwide and there is an ongoing discussion on the best tool to choose for a given population. An important part of the debate is how to differentiate between the physiologically small fetus and the truly growth restricted fetus who is at risk of perinatal complication. Similarly, the diagnosis of a large fetus is important in prevention of perinatal complications and surgical deliveries. Many clinical settings still lack growth standards.


Birthweight for gestational age charts are biased for weight in preterm birth. Prediction and management of outcome cannot be based solely on fetal size. Small is not the only problem, we have to think large as well. A common misunderstanding in clinical practice is not using uniform charts in defining growth.


appropriate for gestational age; growth charts; growth reference; growth standard; large for gestational age; small for gestational age

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