Congratulations, and look forward to the new baby! This exciting good news means you should start browsing your dream stroller, looking for fashionable maternity clothes, and scheduling appointments with many doctors. Regular physical examinations and tests during pregnancy are important to the health of both the pregnant woman and the baby.
Whether you are a pregnant woman anywhere in the world, you may have your belly measured multiple times during pregnancy. Your doctor will regularly measure your growing bump with a tape measure. This measurement is called the fundal height.
Measuring fundal height and belly circumference is an indispensable thing for maternity examinations. There is a certain regularity of the baby's growth during pregnancy, which manifests as an increase in the fundal height and belly circumference. The pregnancy period and fetal development can be inferred from the increase in fundal height. The following article explains what fundal height means and why it is essential for your pregnancy checkups.
What is Fundal Height
Fundal height is a vertical (up and down) measurement of your belly. After pregnancy, the pregnant woman's belly gradually grows, and after about three months of pregnancy, the fundal can be touched in the lower abdomen. As the baby grows up in the uterus, the fundal height gradually rises. The fundal refers to the distance from the pubic bone to the top of the uterus, which can be measured by hand or ruler.
Why is Fundal Height important for You and Your Baby
Doctors use your fundal height measurement to test how well your baby is growing. Starting from about 16 weeks, the doctor will measure the fundal height for pregnant women during each pregnancy examination. It is one of many tests doctors use to calculate your baby's growth to find abnormalities during pregnancy as early as possible. Your fundal height is compared to your estimated pregnancy date to suggest whether your baby is growing on track. But if your fundal height isn't what you expect it to be, it does not automatically mean that there's something wrong with your baby.
Fundal Height by Pregnancy Period
Around 24 weeks of pregnancy, the fundal height usually matches the number of weeks you have been pregnant. Measuring the fundal height can help tell a few important things about your pregnancy. Your doctor will better estimate how far along you are in the pregnancy (gestational age). Keep in mind that the measurement is only a reasonable estimate.
|2-3 cm above the pubic symphysis
|Between the pubic symphysis and the belly button
|1-2cm below the belly button
|1-2 cm above the belly button
|3-5 cm above the belly button
|Between the belly button and the xiphoid process
|3-5 cm below the xiphoid process
|Descend between the xiphoid process and the belly button
Belly Circumference References in Pregnancy
Measuring the abdominal circumference can understand the size of the transverse diameter of the uterus, corresponding to the height of the fundus, in order to understand the situation in the uterine cavity and whether the size of the uterus meets the number of weeks of pregnancy.
|Belly Circumference Minimum
|Belly Circumference Maximum
How To Measure Fundal Height
Fundal height is always measured in centimeters. There is no doubt that pregnant women can measure the fundal height at home, but keep in mind that even a professional doctor can have a hard time calculating it accurately. The measured value is only one of the reference data. Before measuring fundal height at home, ask the doctor to show you where your pubic bone is and how to locate the top of your uterus. There are several basic steps you should follow when measuring:
- Empty your bladder first to ensure a more accurate fundal height measurement.
- You should lay flat on your back on the exam table, just like you’re getting an ultrasound scan.
- Your assistant or doctor will use a flexible measuring tape to measure the distance from your pelvis area to the top of your uterus.
- From the 20th week of pregnancy, you should measure the fundal height once every four weeks; to the 28th-35th weeks after pregnancy, it should be measured once every two weeks; after 36 weeks of pregnancy, it should be measured once a week.
Doctors around the world use the fundal height to help check both mama’s pregnancy health and baby’s growth easily and quickly. Of course, the fundal height can not give an exact number of weeks or show your baby's actual size, but it is a good reference.