Fetal abdominal circumference in the second trimester and prediction of small for gestational age at birth

Georgios Doulaveris, Patience Gallagher, Elizabeth Romney, Michael Richley, Juliana Gebb, Mara Rosner, Pe’er Dar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: Infants that are small for gestational age (SGA) at birth are at increased risk for morbidity and mortality. Unfortunately, the antenatal prediction of SGA is suboptimal. Objectives: We sought to: (1) examine the association between second trimester fetal abdominal circumference < 10% (2T-AClag) with SGA and other gestational and neonatal adverse outcomes; (2) assess 2T-AClag as a predictor of SGA. Study design: Retrospective study of 212 singleton gestations with 2T-AClag on routine ultrasound between 18–24 weeks. The study group was compared to 424 gestations without 2T-AClag for maternal characteristics as well as pregnancy and neonatal adverse outcomes. A multivariate logistic regression was used to determine the predictive value of 2T-AClag for SGA, adjusting for maternal and pregnancy characteristics. The screening model accuracy was assessed through receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves. Fetal growth restriction (FGR) was defined as an estimated fetal weight (EFW) less than the 10th percentile. Results: Gestations with 2T-AClag had higher rates of SGA (35.7 versus 11.6%, p <.0001), FGR (17 versus 1.7%, p <.0001), pregnancy induced hypertension (31.1 versus 17%, p <.0001), preeclampsia (14.6 versus 7.8%, 0 = 0.01), abnormal umbilical artery Doppler (30 versus 5.1%, p <.0001), indicated preterm birth (5.7 versus 1.9%, p =.01), primary cesarean birth (29.6 versus 20.1%, p =.01) and NICU admission (12.9 versus 6.4%, p =.009). After adjusting for maternal and gestational risk factors, 2T-AClag remained an independent risk factor for SGA (OR 4.53, 95%CI 2.91–7.05, p <.0001) and FGR (OR 11.57, 95%CI 5.02–26.65, p <.0001). The inclusion of 2T-AClag in a regression model with traditional risk factors, significantly improved the model’s predictability for SGA and FGR (area under ROC curve increased from 0.618 to 0.723 and 0.653 to 0.819, respectively, p <.0001). Conclusions: Second trimester abdominal circumference (AC) lag is associated with an increased risk of SGA, FGR and other adverse outcomes. The inclusion of 2T-AClag in a screening model for prediction of SGA and FGR may improve the identification of this at-risk group and assist in customizing surveillance plans. Brief rationale Screening for newborns that are small for gestational age (SGA) at birth is currently suboptimal. Our study shows that second trimester abdominal circumference (AC) lag, using a parameter already routinely assessed during anatomic survey, is associated with SGA at birth and can improve current screening for growth restriction and other gestational, fetal and neonatal complications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2415-2421
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Maternal-Fetal and Neonatal Medicine
Issue number14
StatePublished - Jul 17 2020


  • Abdominal circumference
  • birth weight
  • fetal growth restriction
  • second trimester
  • small for gestational age

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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