Basic Research

A Preliminary Study of Three-dimensional Sonographic Measurements of the Fetus

Udi Ergaz, Israel Goldstein, Michael Divon, and Zeev Weiner


Objectives: This study was aimed at establishing an ideal method for performing three-dimensional measurements of the fetus in order to improve the estimation of fetal weight. Methods: The study consisted of two phases. Phase I was a prospective cross-sectional study performed between 28 and 40 weeks’ gestation. The study population (n=110) comprised low-risk singleton pregnancies who underwent a routine third-trimester sonographic estimation of fetal weight. The purpose of this phase was to establish normal values for the fetal abdominal and head volumes throughout the third trimester. Phase II was a prospective study that included patients admitted for an elective cesarean section or for induction of labor between 38 and 41 weeks’ gestation (n=91). This phase of the study compared the actual birth weight to two- (2D) and three-dimensional (3D) measurements of the fetus. Conventional 2D ultrasound fetal biometry was performed measuring the biparietal diameter (BPD), head circumference (HC), abdominal circumference (AC), and femur diaphysis length (FL). Volume estimates were computed utilizing Virtual Organ Computer-aided AnaLysis (VOCAL), and the correlation between measured volumes and actual neonatal weight was calculated. Results: Overall, this longitudinal study consisted of 110 patients between 28 and 41 weeks’ gestation. Normal values were computed for the fetal abdomen and head volume throughout the third trimester. Ultrasound examination was performed within three days prior to delivery on 91 patients. A good correlation was found between birth weight and abdominal volume (r=0.77) and between birth weight and head volume (r=0.5). Correlation between bidimensional measurements and actual fetal weights was found to be comparable with previously published correlations. Conclusion: Volume measurements of the fetus may improve the accuracy of estimating fetal size. Additional studies using different volume measurement of the fetus are necessary.

Rambam Maimonides Med J 2015;6(2):e0019