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Fundal height measurement is considered valuable because it may improve detection of fetal growth abnormalities and thus allow monitoring and treatment to reduce perinatal morbidity and mortality.
It was thought that the widespread introduction of fundal height measurement would improve the detection rate of fetal growth abnormalities but the results have varied widely from studies undertaken at different centers The ability to accurately predict pregnancy complication using fundal height measurement may be affected by a number of factors including the technique used, clinician skill, the number of clinicians involved, the maternal position, the status of the maternal bladder and the possibility of clinician bias.Research has raised some questions about the technique and usefulness of fundal height measurement.The predictive value has been studied by several investigators who found limited evidence to support its use ( Lindhard, 1990 ) and others who found problems related to interexaminer reliability and clinician bias.( Engstrom, 1994 ) It is the aim of this study to consider the literature and to determine the validity and reliability of this commonly performed intervention.One method of clinical assessment of fetal growth is the fundal height measurement; a widely used technique involving measurement of the maternal abdomen from the symphysis pubis to the uterine fundus with a tape measure during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy.While the measurement is most often used to determine fetal growth, other variables including amniotic fluid volume, maternal adipose, fetal lie and presentation, can influence the measurement obtained.
There are studies which support the value of fundal height measurement ( Mathews, 1997 ) and some which have suggested improvements to ensure uniformity, ease of interpretation and an improvement in predictive value ( Gardosi, 1999 ).