Fundal height is a common medical term designating the measurement of the approximate size of the uterus. It measures, in centimeters the distance from the top of the uterus to the public bone. The top of the uterus is where you can push down over it without pushing down directly on it. The area at the top of your uterus is called the fundus. In anatomy, the fundus is the base of any hollow organ or the part of that organ that is the farthest distance from its opening.
This measurement is utilized in assessing fetal growth and development. Beginning in the second trimester, fundal height should generally match closely to the number of weeks of your pregnancy. For example, if you??™re 26 weeks pregnant, your physician would expect your fundal height to measure approximately 26 centimeters. This correlation is not always exact and a variation on either side of a few centimeters is not usually any cause for concern. At 26 weeks a fundal height measurement of 23 to 29 centimeters would be considered normal.
If you go to an obstetrician in private practice and are a regular patient, he or she will not always record the fundal height. They may only make a notation that the fundal height is compatible with gestational age. In large clinics, where a patient may see several different physicians during the course of her pregnancy, fundal height is an important measurement because it serves as an objective frame of reference among various doctors.
Larger Than Normal Fundal Size
If your physician discovers that the fundal height measurement is increasing more rapidly than expected or not as fast as normal, an ultrasound or other similar tests would most likely be ordered to determine what is causing the increased measurement. According to the Mayo Clinic website, some reasons for a larger than normal fundal height or a measurement that increases faster than expected include:
A thicker than average uterus
A thicker than average abdominal wall
A full bladder
Rapid fetal growth
Excessive amniotic fluid
Uterine fibroids which may increase the risk of miscarriage
Twins or other types of multiple birth
Smaller Than Normal Fundal Size
According to the Mayo Clinic website, some reasons for a smaller than expected fundal height or a measurement that increases slower than expected include:
Well-conditioned abdominal muscles
A slim or tall build
A baby that is descending into the uterus prematurely
A baby in the breech position
Too little amniotic fluid
Intrauterine growth restriction
A baby that is physically small
Another possibility for a fundal height measurement is an error in the estimated date of conception, or the estimated date of pregnancy based on the first day of the last menstrual period. This can be quite common and will cause discrepancies between fundal height and the fetus??™ gestational age. If the fundal height measurement is not within the expected parameters your physician will ask questions and perform additional tests to determine if there are any problems that need to be addressed.
The following are questions that the expectant mother can ask her physician in order to become more familiar with fundal height measurement.
What exactly is fundal height
Where is the top of the uterus
Why is it called fundal height
In what position should the fundal height be measured
When should the doctor start measuring the fundal height
What does it mean if my fundal height is smaller than expected
What does it mean if my fundal height is larger than expected
How important is fundal height
Will my doctor always record the fundal height
Is an unltrasound of a fundal height measurement more exact
Fundal height is the measurement of the approximate size of a woman??™s uterus during pregnancy. It measures the distance from the top of the uterus to the public bone and is utilized to assess fetal growth and development. Ultrasound is a more exact when determining the growth and development of the baby, but fundal height is still an important measurement used by physicians during pregnancy.