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INTRODUCTION These Guidelines aim to describe appropriate assessment of fetal biometry and diagnosis of fetal growth disorders. These disorders consist mainly of fetal growth restriction (FGR), also referred to as intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) and often associated with small‐for‐gestational age (SGA), and large‐for‐gestational age (LGA), which may lead to fetal macrosomia; both have been associated with a variety of adverse maternal and perinatal outcomes. Screening for, and adequate management of, fetal growth abnormalities are essential components of antenatal care, and fetal ultrasound plays a key role in assessment of these conditions. The fetal biometric parameters measured most commonly are biparietal diameter (BPD), head circumference (HC), abdominal circumference (AC) and femur diaphysis length (FL). These biometric measurements can be used to estimate fetal weight (EFW) using various different formulae1. It is important to differentiate between the concept of fetal size at a given timepoint and fetal growth, the latter being a dynamic process, the assessment of which requires at least two ultrasound scans separated in time. Maternal history and symptoms, amniotic fluid assessment and Doppler velocimetry can provide additional information that may be used to identify fetuses at risk of adverse pregnancy outcome. Accurate estimation of gestational age is a prerequisite for determining whether fetal size is appropriate‐for‐gestational age (AGA). Except for pregnancies arising from assisted reproductive technology, the date of conception cannot be determined precisely. Clinically, most pregnancies are dated by the last menstrual period, though this may sometimes be uncertain or unreliable. Therefore, dating pregnancies by early ultrasound examination at 8–14 weeks, based on measurement of the fetal crown–rump length (CRL), appears to be the most reliable method to establish gestational age. Once the CRL exceeds 84 mm, HC should be used for pregnancy dating2–4. HC, with or without FL, can be used for estimation of gestational age from the mid‐trimester if a first‐trimester scan is not available and the menstrual history is unreliable. When the expected delivery date has been established by an accurate early scan, subsequent scans should not be used to recalculate the gestational age1. Serial scans can be used to determine if interval growth has been normal. In these Guidelines, we assume that the gestational age is known and has been determined as described above, the pregnancy is singleton and the fetal anatomy is normal. Details of the grades of recommendation used in these Guidelines are given in Appendix 1. Reporting of levels of evidence is not applicable to these Guidelines.

Original publication




Journal article


Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol

Publication Date





715 - 723