Fetal Weight ChartCurrently fetal weight charts are universal. All charts show the same growth rate and estimated fetal weight and length based on hundreds of years of data, but according to a new study on infants born in Tanzania, not all fetal growth charts should be the same.

Researchers took more than 2,100 measurements using trans-abdominal ultrasound. The measurements were taken of 583 fetuses in Tanzania. After all fetuses were born, the same measurements were taken of the infants. The fetal and infant measurements were combined on a fetal/infant growth chart representing optimal growth. This chart was compared to charts established for fetal/infant growth in the Congo and in white populations representing both general and local populations.

The Tanzania chart showed significant small for gestational age differences between fetal/infant growth in the region and standard charts.

Concluding: Regional growth charts should be established to localize health care and give doctors a better look at what normal growth should be within a given region. Regional growth charts may be better suited for assessing potential clinical risk associated with abnormal growth rate in the fetal/infant population of the given region.

Source: Schmiegelow C, Scheike T, Oesterholt M, Minja D, Pehrson C, Magistrado P, Lemnge M, Rasch V, Lusingu J, Theander TG, Nielsen BB. Development of a fetal weight chart using serial trans-abdominal ultrasound in an East african population: a longitudinal observational study. PLoS One. 2012;7(9):e44773. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0044773. Epub 2012 Sep 21.