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Evaluating Accuracy of Foetal Weight Estimation by Clinicians in Christian Medical College Hospital, India and Its Correlation to Actual Birth Weight: A Clinical Audit

Authors: Aarati Susan Mathew, Radhika Narendra Patel, Jiji Mathew


A retrospective study conducted at Christian Medical College (CMC) Teaching Hospital, Vellore, India on 14th August 2014 to assess the accuracy of clinically estimated foetal weight upon labour admission. Estimating foetal weight is a crucial factor in assessing maternal and foetal complications during and after labour. Medical notes of ninety-eight postnatal women who fulfilled the inclusion criteria were studied to evaluate the correlation between their recorded Estimated Foetal Weight (EFW) on admission and actual birth weight (ABW) of the newborn after delivery. Data concerning maternal and foetal demographics was also noted. Accuracy was determined by absolute percentage error and proportion of estimates within 10% of ABW. Actual birth weights ranged from 950-4080g. A strong positive correlation between EFW and ABW (r=0.904) was noted. Term deliveries (≥40 weeks) in the normal weight range (2500-4000g) had a 59.5% estimation accuracy (n=74) compared to pre-term (<40 weeks) with an estimation accuracy of 0% (n=2). Out of the term deliveries, macrosomic babies (>4000g) were underestimated by 25% (n=3) and low birthweight (LBW) babies were overestimated by 12.7% (n=9). Registrars who estimated foetal weight were accurate in babies within normal weight ranges. However, there needs to be an improvement in predicting weight of macrosomic and LBW foetuses. We have suggested the use of an amended version of the Johnson’s formula for the Indian population for improvement and a need to re-audit once implemented.

Keywords: Clinical palpation, estimated foetal weight, pregnancy, India, Johnson’s formula.

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