Intrauterine Growth Standards

  • Mira A. Wehbe
  • Lama Charafeddine
  • Khalid A. Yunis


Fetal growth assessment is essential in identifying the infants’ well-being. When discussing and defining intrauterine growth and intrauterine growth standards, one has to consider definitions of growth restriction. An intrauterine growth-restricted infant (IUGR) is defined as a fetus who fails to reach her growth potential. In published literature, different cutoff points for birth weight are used to define IUGR due to the absence of population-derived percentiles. The most commonly used birth weight cutoff point is the 10th percentile although small for gestational age infants are not necessarily growth restricted. In this chapter, we examined published population-based growth charts from different areas and populations. This close inspection highlights a significant difference between different populations and within the same population, in both developed and developing countries. Authors have used different methodologies to derive specific growth standards (including various calculations and ranges of gestational age, exclusion criteria, study design, and sample size). A high rate of false-positive and false-negative diagnosis of IUGR indicates the importance of adjusting for maternal, fetal, and placental factors affecting growth. A proposed adjustment method is the use of individualized customized growth charts. These charts take into account specific population characteristics and maternal factors in order to develop fetal growth potentials for each particular pregnancy. To conclude, further research is needed to identify a refined uniform definition for IUGR in order to increase our understanding of etiologies, contributing factors, and outcomes of infants with abnormal uterine growth.


Birth Weight Fetal Growth Growth Chart Fetal Weight Last Menstrual Period 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Abdominal circumference


American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists


Biparietal diameter


Deoxyribo-nucleic acid


Expected date of confinement


Estimated fetal weight


East Mediterranean region


Femur length


Head circumference


Intrauterine growth restriction


Large for gestational age


Last menstrual period


National Collaborative Perinatal Neonatal Network


Socioeconomic status


Small for gestational age


United Kingdom




World Health Organization


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mira A. Wehbe
    • 1
  • Lama Charafeddine
    • 2
  • Khalid A. Yunis
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Pediatrics, National Collaborative Perinatal Neonatal NetworkAmerican University of Beirut Medical CenterBeirutLebanon
  2. 2.Department of Pediatrics, National Collaborative Perinatal Neonatal NetworkAmerican University of Beirut Medical CenterBeirutLebanon

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