Document Type



Obstetrics and Gynaecology (East Africa)


Objective: To create prescriptive growth standards for five fetal brain structures, measured by ultrasound, from healthy, well-nourished women, at low risk of impaired fetal growth and poor perinatal outcomes, taking part in the Fetal Growth Longitudinal Study (FGLS) of the INTERGROWTH-21st Project.

Methods: This was a complementary analysis of a large, population-based, multicentre, longitudinal study. We measured, in planes reconstructed from 3-dimensional (3D) ultrasound volumes of the fetal head at different time points in pregnancy, the size of the parieto-occipital fissure (POF), Sylvian fissure (SF), anterior horn of the lateral ventricle (AV), atrium of the posterior ventricle (PV) and cisterna magna (CM). The sample analysed was randomly selected from the overall FGLS population, ensuring an equal distribution amongst the eight diverse participating sites and of 3D ultrasound volumes across pregnancy (range: 15 - 36 weeks' gestation). Fractional polynomials were used to the construct standards. Growth and development of the infants were assessed at 1 and 2 years of age to confirm their adequacy for constructing international standards.

Results: From the entire FGLS cohort of 4321 women, 451 (10.4%) were randomly selected. After exclusions, 3D ultrasound volumes from 442 fetuses born without congenital malformations were used to create the charts. The fetal brain structures of interest were identified in 90% of cases. All structures showed increasing size with gestation and increasing variability for the POF, SF, PV and CM. The 3rd , 5th , 50th , 95th and 97th smoothed centile are presented. The 5th centile of POF and SF were 2.8 and 4.3 at 22 weeks and 4.2 and 9.4mm at 32 weeks respectively. The 95th centile of PV and CM were 8.5 and 7.4 at 22 weeks and 8.5 and 9.4mm at 32 weeks respectively.

Conclusions: We have produced prescriptive size standards for fetal brain structures based on prospectively enrolled pregnancies at low risk of abnormal outcomes. We recommend these as international standards for the assessment of measurements obtained by ultrasound from fetal brain structures.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Ultrasound in Obstetrics & Gynecology

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.