Estimating Gestational Age From Ultrasound Fetal Biometrics

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To compare the accuracy of a new formula with one developed in 1984 (and still in common use) and to develop and compare racial and ethnic-specific and racial and ethnic-neutral formulas.

METHODS:

The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) Fetal Growth Studies-Singletons was a prospective cohort study that recruited women in four self-reported racial–ethnic groups—non-Hispanic black, Hispanic, non-Hispanic white, and Asian—with singleton gestations from 12 U.S. centers (2009–2013). Women with a certain last menstrual period confirmed by first-trimester ultrasonogram had longitudinal fetal measurements by credentialed study ultrasonographers blinded to the gestational age at their five follow-up visits. Regression analyses were performed with linear mixed models to develop gestational age estimating formulas. Repeated cross-validation was used for validation. The estimation error was defined as the mean squared difference between the estimated and observed gestational age and was used to compare the formulas' accuracy.

RESULTS:

The new formula estimated the gestational age (±2 SD) within ±7 days from 14 to 20 weeks of gestation, ±10 days from 21 to 27 weeks of gestation, and ±17 days from 28 to 40 weeks of gestation. The new formula performed significantly better than a formula developed in 1984 with an estimation error of 10.4 compared with 11.2 days from 21 to 27 weeks of gestation and 17.0 compared with 19.8 days at 28–40 weeks of gestation, respectively. Racial and ethnic-specific formulas did not outperform the racial and ethnic-neutral formula.

CONCLUSION:

The NICHD gestational age estimation formula is associated with smaller errors than a well-established historical formula. Racial and ethnic-specific formulas are not superior to a racial–ethnic-neutral one.

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