What is fundal height?
From about twenty-one weeks in her pregnancy onwards, your spouse’s doctor will measure her ‘fundal height’ as part of the prenatal checkup. Fundal height is the distance measured from the top of her pubic bone to the top of the uterus, also called the ‘fundus.’ It helps to monitor your baby’s growth rate and development.
How is the ideal average fundal height determined?
Typically, the fundal height, as measured in centimeters, equals the number of weeks of pregnancy. Thus, at 21 weeks of pregnancy, your spouse’s ideal fundal height may be about 19 to 23 centimeters. A fundal height that is longer by more than 2 centimeters than the average for her stage of pregnancy is ‘large for dates.’ Similarly, a fundal height that is more than 2 centimeters shorter than the average for her stage of pregnancy is ‘small for dates.’
What do fundal height measurements indicate?
A larger fundal height may merely mean that your spouse is carrying a healthy baby that is larger than average, or that she is carrying twins. However, it could also indicate the presence of uterine fibroids, an excess of aminiotic fluid, or other problems. Similarly, a smaller fundal height may mean a healthy baby that is smaller than average, or the presence of baby that is healthy, it could also indicate other reasons. An inconsistency in the fundal height will usually prompt the doctor to carry out an ultrasound to ascertain the exact cause. Fundal height measurement will become less accurate after about 36 weeks, as the baby settles into your spouse’s pelvis.