Individualized growth assessment: conceptual framework and practical implementation for the evaluation of fetal growth and neonatal growth outcome

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2018 Feb;218(2S):S656-S678. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2017.12.210.


Fetal growth abnormalities can pose significant consequences on perinatal morbidity and mortality of nonanomalous fetuses. The most widely accepted definition of fetal growth restriction is an estimated fetal weight less than the 10th percentile for gestational age according to population-based criteria. However, these criteria do not account for the growth potential of an individual fetus, nor do they effectively separate constitutionally small fetuses from ones that are malnourished. Furthermore, conventional approaches typically evaluate estimated fetal weight at a single time point, rather than using serial scans, to evaluate growth. This article provides a conceptual framework for the individualized growth assessment of a fetus/neonate based on measuring second-trimester growth velocity of fetal size parameters to estimate growth potential. These estimates specify size models that generate individualized third-trimester size trajectories and predict birth characteristics. Comparisons of measured and predicted values are used to separate normally growing fetuses from those with growth abnormalities. This can be accomplished with individual anatomical parameters or sets of parameters. A practical and freely available software (Individualized Growth Assessment Program) has been developed to allow implementation of this approach for clinical and research purposes.

Keywords: Individualized Growth Assessment Program; Rossavik growth model; customized fetal growth; individualized growth assessment; second trimester; third trimester; ultrasound.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Child Development*
  • Female
  • Fetal Development*
  • Fetal Growth Retardation / diagnosis*
  • Fetal Macrosomia / diagnosis*
  • Fetal Weight
  • Gestational Age
  • Growth Charts
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Trimester, Second
  • Pregnancy Trimester, Third