Prediction of fetal weight at varying gestational age in the absence of ultrasound examination using ensemble learning

Artif Intell Med. 2020 Jan;102:101748. doi: 10.1016/j.artmed.2019.101748. Epub 2019 Nov 17.


Obstetric ultrasound examination of physiological parameters has been mainly used to estimate the fetal weight during pregnancy and baby weight before labour to monitor fetal growth and reduce prenatal morbidity and mortality. However, the problem is that ultrasound estimation of fetal weight is subject to population's difference, strict operating requirements for sonographers, and poor access to ultrasound in low-resource areas. Inaccurate estimations may lead to negative perinatal outcomes. This study aims to predict fetal weight at varying gestational age in the absence of ultrasound examination within a certain accuracy. We consider that machine learning can provide an accurate estimation for obstetricians alongside traditional clinical practices, as well as an efficient and effective support tool for pregnant women for self-monitoring. We present a robust methodology using a data set comprising 4212 intrapartum recordings. The cubic spline function is used to fit the curves of several key characteristics that are extracted from ultrasound reports. A number of simple and powerful machine learning algorithms are trained, and their performance is evaluated with real test data. We also propose a novel evaluation performance index called the intersection-over-union (loU) for our study. The results are encouraging using an ensemble model consisting of Random Forest, XGBoost, and LightGBM algorithms. The experimental results show the loU between predicted range of fetal weight at any gestational age that is given by the ensemble model and ultrasound respectively. The machine learning based approach applied in our study is able to predict, with a high accuracy, fetal weight at varying gestational age in the absence of ultrasound examination.

Keywords: Ensemble learning; Fetal weight estimation; Genetic algorithm; Intersection-over-union; Machine learning.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Algorithms
  • Birth Weight
  • Female
  • Fetal Development
  • Fetal Weight*
  • Gestational Age*
  • Humans
  • Machine Learning*
  • Models, Statistical
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Pregnancy
  • Ultrasonography