Symphysis Fundus Height Measurements during Labour: A Prospective, Descriptive Study

  • BK Bothner Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Coronation Hospital and University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.
  • AM Gulmezoglu Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Coronation Hospital and University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.
  • GJ Hofmeyr Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Coronation Hospital and University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.
Keywords: Symphysis fundus height, labour, fetal growth

Abstract



This study was conducted to determine the correlation between symphysis fundus height (SFH) measurements and infant weight. It was also to examine whether descent of the fetus or rupture of the membranes affects the relationship and to calculate a simple formula for estimation of fetal weight. A descriptive prospective study design was used. The setting was the teaching hospitals in Johannesburg. Results show that there is a good correlation between SF measurements and birthweight (r = 0.56) and also between the product of SF measurements and abdominal girth (r = 0.57). The correlation of abdominal girth alone and birthweight was less significant (r = 0.47). Rupture of the membranes has minimal effect on the measurements. The correlation of SF measurements with birthweight was highest when subtracting engagement of the head (in fifths above the pelvic brim) from the SF measurement (r = 0.64). In conclusion, fundal height among women with similar size fetuses varies widely. The formula created from the observations was not sufficiently accurate to be clinically useful. The primary value of SF measurements is to assess fetal growth over time by repeated measurements in individual pregnancies.

(Afr J Reprod Health; 4[1]: 48-55)

Key Words: Symphysis fundus height, labour, fetal growth
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eISSN: 1118-4841