Fundal height: An accurate sign of fetal growth?

content provided by

Fundal height: An accurate sign of fetal growth?


What's the significance of a fundal height measurement?

No name
No state given


Fundal height is generally defined as the distance from the top of the uterus to the pubic bone measured in centimeters. After the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, your fundal height measurement often matches the number of weeks you've been pregnant. For example, if you're 27 weeks pregnant, your health care provider would expect your fundal height to be about 27 centimeters. It isn't unusual, however, to measure somewhat smaller or larger than expected.

This might happen if you:

  • Have a tall or slim frame
  • Have a short or heavy frame
  • Have a full bladder
  • Are carrying twins or other multiples

In other cases, fundal height that measures smaller or larger than expected — or increases more or less quickly than expected — could indicate conditions such as:

  • Slow fetal growth (intrauterine growth restriction)
  • Rapid fetal growth (macrosomia)
  • Too little amniotic fluid (oligohydramnios)
  • Too much amniotic fluid (polyhydramnios)
  • Uterine fibroids
  • A baby prematurely descending into the pelvis or settling into a breech or other unusual position

Depending on the circumstances, your health care provider might recommend an ultrasound or other tests to determine what's causing the unusual measurements.

Remember, fundal height is only a tool for gauging fetal growth and gestational age — it's not an exact science. Typically, fundal height measurements offer reassurance of a baby's steady growth. If you're concerned about your fundal height measurements, ask your health care provider for details.

Last Updated: 2011-06-25
© 1998-2016 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). All rights reserved. A single copy of these materials may be reprinted for noncommercial personal use only. "Mayo," "Mayo Clinic," "," "Mayo Clinic Health Information," "Reliable information for a healthier life" and the triple-shield Mayo logo are trademarks of Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.

Terms and conditions of use


Bookmark and Share   E-Mail Page   Printer Friendly Version