Prediction of gestational age with symphysis-fundal height and estimated uterine volume in a pregnancy cohort in Sylhet, Bangladesh

Anne C.C. Lee, Rachel Whelan, Nazmun Nahar Bably, Lauren E. Schaeffer, Sayedur Rahman, Salahuddin Ahmed, Syed Mamun Ibne Moin, Nazma Begum, Mohammad Abdul Quaiyum, Bernard Rosner, James A. Litch, Abdullah H. Baqui, Blair J. Wylie

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1 Scopus citations


Objective To improve the accuracy of the prediction of gestational age (GA) before birth with the standardised measurement of symphysis-fundal height (SFH), estimation of uterine volume, and statistical modelling including maternal anthropometrics and other factors. Design Prospective pregnancy cohort study. Setting Rural communities in Sylhet, Bangladesh. Participants 1516 women with singleton pregnancies with early pregnancy ultrasound dating (<20 weeks); 1486 completed follow-up. Methods SFH and abdominal girth were measured at subsequent antenatal care (ANC) visits by community health workers at 24 to 28, 32 to 36, and/or >37 weeks gestation. An estimated uterine volume (EUV) was calculated from these measures. Data on pregnancy characteristics and other maternal anthropometrics were also collected. Primary outcome measure GA at subsequent ANC visits, as defined by early ultrasound dating. Results 1486 (98%) women had at least one subsequent ANC visit, 1102 (74%) women had two subsequent ANC visits, and 748 (50%) had three visits. Using the common clinical practice of approximating the GA (in weeks) with the SFH measurement (cm), SFH systematically underestimated GA in late pregnancy (mean difference -4.4 weeks, 95% limits of agreement -12.5 to 3.7). For the classification of GA <28 weeks, SFH <26 cm had 85% sensitivity and 81% specificity; and for GA <34 weeks, SFH <29 cm had 83% sensitivity and 71% specificity. EUV had similar diagnostic accuracy. Despite rigorous statistical modelling of SFH, accounting for repeated longitudinal measurements and additional predictors, the best model without including a known last menstrual period predicted 95% of pregnancy dates within ±7.4 weeks of early ultrasound dating. Conclusions We were unable to predict GA with a high degree of accuracy before birth using maternal anthropometric measures and other available maternal characteristics. Efforts to improve GA dating in low-and middle-income countries before birth should focus on increasing coverage and training of ultrasonography. Trial registration number NCT01572532.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number034942
JournalBMJ open
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 12 2020


  • estimated uterine volume
  • gestational age
  • preterm birth
  • symphysis fundal height
  • uterine fundal height

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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