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PLoS By Category | Recent PLoS Articles
Obstetrics - Pediatrics and Child Health - Public Health and Epidemiology - Radiology and Medical Imaging

Development of a Fetal Weight Chart Using Serial Trans-Abdominal Ultrasound in an East African Population: A Longitudinal Observational Study
Published: Friday, September 21, 2012
Author: Christentze Schmiegelow et al.

by Christentze Schmiegelow, Thomas Scheike, Mayke Oesterholt, Daniel Minja, Caroline Pehrson, Pamela Magistrado, Martha Lemnge, Vibeke Rasch, John Lusingu, Thor G. Theander, Birgitte Bruun Nielsen

Objective

To produce a fetal weight chart representative of a Tanzanian population, and compare it to weight charts from Sub-Saharan Africa and the developed world.

Methods

A longitudinal observational study in Northeastern Tanzania. Pregnant women were followed throughout pregnancy with serial trans-abdominal ultrasound. All pregnancies with pathology were excluded and a chart representing the optimal growth potential was developed using fetal weights and birth weights. The weight chart was compared to a chart from Congo, a chart representing a white population, and a chart representing a white population but adapted to the study population. The prevalence of SGA was assessed using all four charts.

Results

A total of 2193 weight measurements from 583 fetuses/newborns were included in the fetal weight chart. Our chart had lower percentiles than all the other charts. Most importantly, in the end of pregnancy, the 10th percentiles deviated substantially causing an overestimation of the true prevalence of SGA newborns if our chart had not been used.

Conclusions

We developed a weight chart representative for a Tanzanian population and provide evidence for the necessity of developing regional specific weight charts for correct identification of SGA. Our weight chart is an important tool that can be used for clinical risk assessments of newborns and for evaluating the effect of intrauterine exposures on fetal and newborn weight.

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