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OBJECTIVE: To construct new size charts for all fetal limb bones. DESIGN: A prospective, cross sectional study. SETTING: Ultrasound department of a large hospital. SAMPLE: 663 fetuses scanned once only for the purpose of the study at gestations between 12 and 42 weeks. METHODS: Centiles were estimated by combining separate regression models fitted to the mean and standard deviation, assuming that the measurements have a normal distribution at each gestational age. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Determination of fetal limb lengths from 12 to 42 weeks of gestation. RESULTS: Size charts for fetal bones (radius, ulna, humerus, tibia, fibula, femur and foot) are presented and compared with previously published data. CONCLUSIONS: We present new size charts for fetal limb bones which take into consideration the increasing variability with gestational age. We have compared these charts with other published data; the differences seen may be largely due to methodological differences. As standards for fetal head and abdominal measurements have been published from the same population, we suggest that the use of the new charts may facilitate prenatal diagnosis of skeletal dysplasias.

Original publication




Journal article


BJOG : an international journal of obstetrics and gynaecology

Publication Date





919 - 929


Department of Clinical and Molecular Genetics, Institute of Child Health, 30 Guilford Street, London WC1N 1EH, UK.


Bones of Upper Extremity, Foot Bones, Leg Bones, Humans, Ultrasonography, Prenatal, Prospective Studies, Cross-Sectional Studies, Embryonic and Fetal Development, Gestational Age, Weights and Measures, Reference Values