Ultrasound is the most sensitive method of assessing fetal growth. It is important to note that while a single ultrasound measurement may give an indication of whether the fetal abdominal circumference or estimated fetal weight is above or below a pre-defined centile, this does not in itself diagnose a fetal growth abnormality. Abnormal fetal growth can only be ascertained by successive measurements, usually of the abdominal circumference, plotted either manually or by specialized software on a centile chart.
Growth parameters, primarily biparietal diameter (BPD), head circumference (HC), femur length (FL) and abdominal circumference (AC), are plotted on charts which delineate the normal range of growth within a population. In an attempt to refine identification of true IUGR, ultrasound growth charts that adjust for baseline maternal and fetal characteristics have been devised. They also allow the differentiation between fetuses that are small, but have normal growth rate (hence might have been mis-labelled 'growth restricted' using normal population centile charts) from those whose growth was originally within the normal range but has fallen below a given centile.
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Once your pregnancy is over and done with, your baby is happily in your arms, and youre headed back home from the hospital, youll begin to realize that things have only just begun. Over the next few days, weeks, and months, youre going to increasingly notice that your entire life has changed in more ways than you could ever imagine.