Prediction of adverse perinatal outcome by fetal biometry: comparison of customized and population-based standards

D. Kabiri, R. Romero, D. W. Gudicha, E. Hernandez-Andrade, P. Pacora, N. Benshalom-Tirosh, D. Tirosh, L. Yeo, O. Erez, S. S. Hassan, A. L. Tarca

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Objective: To compare the predictive performance of estimated fetal weight (EFW) percentiles, according to eight growth standards, to detect fetuses at risk for adverse perinatal outcome. Methods: This was a retrospective cohort study of 3437 African-American women. Population-based (Hadlock, INTERGROWTH-21st, World Health Organization (WHO), Fetal Medicine Foundation (FMF)), ethnicity-specific (Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)), customized (Gestation-Related Optimal Weight (GROW)) and African-American customized (Perinatology Research Branch (PRB)/NICHD) growth standards were used to calculate EFW percentiles from the last available scan prior to delivery. Prediction performance indices and relative risk (RR) were calculated for EFW < 10th and > 90th percentiles, according to each standard, for individual and composite adverse perinatal outcomes. Sensitivity at a fixed (10%) false-positive rate (FPR) and partial (FPR < 10%) and full areas under the receiver-operating-characteristics curves (AUC) were compared between the standards. Results: Ten percent (341/3437) of neonates were classified as small-for-gestational age (SGA) at birth, and of these 16.4% (56/341) had at least one adverse perinatal outcome. SGA neonates had a 1.5-fold increased risk of any adverse perinatal outcome (P < 0.05). The screen-positive rate of EFW < 10th percentile varied from 6.8% (NICHD) to 24.4% (FMF). EFW < 10th percentile, according to all standards, was associated with an increased risk for each of the adverse perinatal outcomes considered (P < 0.05 for all). The highest RRs associated with EFW < 10th percentile for each adverse outcome were 5.1 (95% CI, 2.1–12.3) for perinatal mortality (WHO); 5.0 (95% CI, 3.2–7.8) for perinatal hypoglycemia (NICHD); 3.4 (95% CI, 2.4–4.7) for mechanical ventilation (NICHD); 2.9 (95% CI, 1.8–4.6) for 5-min Apgar score < 7 (GROW); 2.7 (95% CI, 2.0–3.6) for neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) admission (NICHD); and 2.5 (95% CI, 1.9–3.1) for composite adverse perinatal outcome (NICHD). Although the RR CIs overlapped among all standards for each individual outcome, the RR of composite adverse perinatal outcome in pregnancies with EFW < 10th percentile was higher according to the NICHD (2.46; 95% CI, 1.9–3.1) than the FMF (1.47; 95% CI, 1.2–1.8) standard. The sensitivity for composite adverse perinatal outcome varied substantially between standards, ranging from 15% for NICHD to 32% for FMF, due mostly to differences in FPR; this variation subsided when the FPR was set to the same value (10%). Analysis of AUC revealed significantly better performance for the prediction of perinatal mortality by the PRB/NICHD standard (AUC = 0.70) compared with the Hadlock (AUC = 0.66) and FMF (AUC = 0.64) standards. Evaluation of partial AUC (FPR < 10%) demonstrated that the INTERGROWTH-21st standard performed better than the Hadlock standard for the prediction of NICU admission and mechanical ventilation (P < 0.05 for both). Although fetuses with EFW > 90th percentile were also at risk for any adverse perinatal outcome according to the INTERGROWTH-21st (RR = 1.4; 95% CI, 1.0–1.9) and Hadlock (RR = 1.7; 95% CI, 1.1–2.6) standards, many times fewer cases (2–5-fold lower sensitivity) were detected by using EFW > 90th percentile, rather than EFW < 10th percentile, in screening by these standards. Conclusions: Fetuses with EFW < 10th percentile or EFW > 90th percentile were at increased risk of adverse perinatal outcomes according to all or some of the eight growth standards, respectively. The RR of a composite adverse perinatal outcome in pregnancies with EFW < 10th percentile was higher for the most-stringent (NICHD) compared with the least-stringent (FMF) standard. The results of the complementary analysis of AUC suggest slightly improved detection of adverse perinatal outcome by more recent population-based (INTERGROWTH-21st) and customized (PRB/NICHD) standards compared with the Hadlock and FMF standards. Published 2019. This article is a U.S. Government work and is in the public domain in the USA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177-188
Number of pages12
JournalUltrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • customized fetal growth standards
  • estimated fetal weight
  • growth restriction
  • mechanical ventilation
  • neonatal intensive care unit admission
  • perinatal morbidity
  • perinatal mortality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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